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VOL. I. 


^Pi^it^ (n dtttfauns to ^ inB{ittB> 


THE NEV/ \orK 



Printed by Schnlce and Co., 18, Poland Street. 















The Author of this History of Sweden considers 
it necessary to impart the following account of the 
Work, which by means of this Translation is to be 
made known to the English public. 

The aim ever present to his mind, was to collect, 
and by an artistical treatment of the subject to present, 
as vividly as his powers permitted, the more remark- 
able features in the History of Sweden,* by which 
means he hoped to interest a more numerous circle of 
readers, and to make the history of his fatherland 
better known than it has hitherto been. 

The three first volumes including the time from Odin 
to Erik XIV (deposed in 1569*) were the Author's 
first essay, in the compilation of which he considered 
the taste of the general readers alone, and therefore 
consulted only the ordinary printed authorities ; but in 
the latter volumes he has more and more availed 
himself of the hitherto untouched treasures of the 
Archives ; and thus, as well as by means of greater 
detail, sought on the oneh and to diffuse a clearer light 
over certain events hitherto but partially known, and 
on the other to oflFer a comprehensive view of the des- 
tinies of his native land. 

♦ The portion here included in two volumes. 


This has been the case more especially with the lat- 
ter volumes^ which embrace the period from 1632 
to 1660. 

The undertaking has met with uncommon success 
in Sweden. The firat volume has already gone through 
six Editions^ and the successive volumes have suc- 
ceeded in a similar proportion. Translations have also 
been published in the German and French languages. 

Anders Fryxell. 

Stockholm^ 201;h April, 1844. 


The translation of this portion of Swedish History 
has been to me, I may say, a labour of love — partly 
from an ardent interest in the subject, partly in memory 
of a country where I passed eight years of my life, in 
which I have experienced kindness from many friends 
that I shall never forget. 

I am now far away from Sweden, perhaps never may 
set foot on Swedish ground again ; still it ever recurs 
to my mind under two forms, like some bright being 
once seen amidst all the pomp and brilliancy of life on 
its sunniest side, once again in the mourning weeds of 
solitude and sorrow — forming two pictures distinctly 
different and never to be forgotten. Sweden has no 
railroads, no densely populous mercantile towns, no 
thickly-sown villages and smiling cottages on almost 
every acre of land. Sweden is yet very young ; her 
Spring and Winter seem to have in them an intensity 
of youthful vigour unknown to more temperate climes, 
and he who has seen, nay heard the amber-coloured 
vegetation bursting into life and glory on the grey 
branches of the Swedish oak, late in May ; who has 
stood under the green canopy of her tender-leaved 
beeches ; floated on the surface of her inland seas 5 or 
wandered midst her wild flowers of every varied hue, 
scattered as thickly amidst the grass as leaves upon the 
boughs ; watched the evening Heavens above all this 
fading into night, and yet not night; he who has fully 
entered into the spirit and enjoyed these things in their 

viii tbanslator's preface. 

untold charm, knows what Sweden is in her holiday 
dress. But when the dark leaden sky descends to orie, 
still darker line bounding the horizon of the sea, show- 
ing where it yet lies open beyond wide- stretching 
plains and wildernesses of ice and snow that bear the 
solitary track of wolves as they leave their forests to 
seek the water's edge to drink — ^he who has whirled 
through those dark sounding woods of tall fir and pine, 
the home of the fox, the wolf and the bear, where every 
tree is as a lyre vibrating to each breath of wind with a 
solemn melody, where the clotted snow lies in balls on 
every broken trunk, or clothes in wide-spreading fleecy 
fohage every slender twig — knows what Sweden is in 
the days of her mourning, her long dark winter. Yet 
Winter has charms, has beauties, how great I nevisr 
knew, till I lived amongst rocks and forests, and water- 
falls, and wild uncultivated nature in Sweden; — and 
warm hearts, and warm rooms are there, and kindness 
and cordiality are there, and much that beautifies and 
adorns domestic life. 

Of her history I will not say much. It may in 
part be rude, but it accords with the nature of her 
climate and her soil. The Swedish Bonde^ when he is 
what he ought to be, is the Prince among the peasantry 
of Europe, and we can understand, as we read, the great 
part he has played in the destinies of his native land, 
and that which he still bears in her legislation. Few 
countries can present so grand a line of Sovereigns 
of one dynasty as that of the house of Wasa; none 
isuch a character as that of Gustavus Adolphus. Women 
do not figure much on these pages, but those who do ; ' | 
are Shakspearean women. Foremost among them all,'* 
behold that strangely distinct apparition from half- * . . 
fabulous times, Kraka, the wife of the renowned Rag- . . 
nar Lodbrok, who was seen but once to weep, and 

. "■ ■■■..a 


translator's preface. ix 

then wept tears of blood ; and in later days, Christina 
G-yllenstjema and Anna Bjelke who, had they belonged 
to a nation whose language was more generally known, 
ip?^oxdd long 1^0 have held a place among the most dis- 
tinguished of their sex for heroism and virtue. 

Sut I forget it is not a panegyric, but a preface 
I am writing, and need not thus run on. Before I con- 
clude, I would return my thanks to my kind friend, 
Mrs. Howitt, who takes charge of my book when I am 
far away. And should this translation ever fall into the 
hands of the generous Crown Prince of Sweden, now 
King Oscar I., may it bear to him the grateful thanks 
of a heart that has long sought to acknowledge her 
obligation, who when one word would have crushed, 
forbore to pronounce that word. 

Anne von Schoultz. 
London^ 16th May, 1844. 
















All nations have sought^ by means of a Mythology, 
to explain the origin and government of the worid, 
the destiny of man in this life^ and his state after 
death. The belief and ideas entertained by the early 
Scandinavians on these points may be found detailed 
in an ancient work entitled the Edda. According tö 
that work there was in the beginning of time, neither 
earth, ocean, nor sky, but one huge gulf, called 
Ginnungagap. On the one side of this gulf lay 
Niflhem, a region of frost and cold; on the other 
Maspelshem, where Surtur reigns, the region of 

VOL. I. B 


fire and light. When the vapours from Nifihem met 
the rays from Muspelshem, they obtained life and 
became a great giant, called Ymer. This giant was 
evil, as were all his descendants who were called 
Rimtussar. But the three Gods, Odin, Vile, and 
Ve, killed Ymer, in whose blood all the Rimtussar 
were drowned, save Bergelmer, who with his wife 
saved himself in a boat and continued the race of the 
Rimtussar. Ymer's body was carried by the Gods into 
Ginnungagap, and of it they made the earth. The 
blood was turned into sea and lakes ; the bones became 
mountains ; the hair grew into forests ; the beard into 
grass, and the teeth became stones. The skull was 
raised above the earth, and became the firmament. A 
dwarf was placed under each comer, called East, West, 
South and North. The Gods then took sparks from 
Muspelshem, and placed them as stars in the sky. In 
the centre of the earth they raised a strong castle made 
of Ymer's eyebrows. This castle was called Midgard^ 
and there the Gods resided; but the giants were per- 
mitted to dwell without on the sea-coasts. The Gods 
once found on the shore the tnmks of two dead trees* 
Of these, they formed the first human beings. Ask 
and Embla, from whom the human race have since 
descended, and they dwelt with the Gods in Midgard. 



Odin is the chief and oldest, and as it were, a 
father of the other Gods. He is very wise, and has 
given one of his eyes for permission to draw wisdom 
out of Mimer's Well. On his shoulders sit two crows. 


Hugin and Munin (Prescience and Memory) who fly 
round the world, and return to relate to Odin all they 
have heard and seen. He wields in his hand his good 
lance Gugner, and rides on his horse Sleipner which 
has eight feet. All worship him, and Gods and men 
swear by his name. Wednesday (Wodinsday) is named 
after him, and his hall is called Walhalla. The souls 
of most of those who fall in battle come to this place, 
and are then called Einheriar. They go out every day 
on the ramparts and fight with each other; but return 
towards evening to Walhalla. The wounds which they 
have received heal of themselves, and many fair 
maidens, called Walkyrior, entertain them with mead 
and roasted pork. The pork is cut from a hog called 
Schrimner, which though daily roasted and eaten yet 
grows again, and becomes entire every morning. Thus 
the Einheriar are to live on till Ragnarök.* 

Asa Tor, or Åke Thor, is the strongest of Gods or 
men. When he buckles on his belt, Megingjard, he 
receives double strength., His hammer, Mjolner, crushes 
all that it strikes, and then returns again to his hand. 
But if Thor would wield Mjolner, he must wear his 
iron gauntlets, otherwise he would be unable to lift it. 
His greatest pleasure lies in pursuing all giants and 
enchanters whom he destroys with his hammer. At 
these times he appears seated in his chariot drawn by 
two he-goats, which in its rapid course produces a ter- 
rible sound, while sparks issue from the mountains. 
This is the thunder, which has hence received its 
Swedish name, Thordon. Thursday is named after 
Thor. When he is not fighting against the giants, he 
rests in his castle, Trudwang, and thus says the Edda 
will Thor continue to live on till Ragnarök. 
* The end of Time. 

B 2 


Frey was the God of the Seasons, and Friday has 
been named after him. Brage was the God of heroic 
song. His wife Idun kept in a box the apples of 
Immortality of which the Gods ate that they might 
never grow old. These apples were once stolen away^ 
at which time the Gods received much injury, for they 
grew old and grey-haired. Balder was the name of 
the God of Innocence, and so beloved that every- 
thing on earth gave an oath to his mother Frigg not 
to injure Balder. So long as he lived, the Gods were 
invincible. Heimdal sat with his Gjallarhom and kept 
watch to hinder the giants from crossing the bridge 
which led from Heaven to earth. This bridge was then 
called Bifrost, but is now called the Rainbow. 

Frigg was Odin's wife, and held the chief rank amongst 
the Goddesses ; the destinies of men were known be* 
forehand to her. Freya was the Goddess of Love, 
and had been married to öder ; but when he left her^ 
she mourned exceedingly^ and her tears which fell 
continually were turned into the purest gold. 

An Ash, called Ygdrasil, is the largest of all trees. 
Its branches shade the whole earth, and its top reaches 
up to Heaven. It has three roots, of which one reaches 
to Ginnungagap where is Mimer's Well in which all 
wisdom is preserved. The second extends to Niflhem 
where it is constantly gnawed by the dragon Nidhögg. 
The third reaches to Midgard. At this root is the 
holy Urdar Brunn or Well, where the Nornor or 
Fates dwell. Their names are Urd (the Past) ; Wer- 
dandi (the Present) ; and Skuld (the Future). Thej 
determine all that takes place upon earth, and even the 
Oods themselves must submit to the law of the Fates. 




LoKB was a descendant of the Rimtassar and was 
evil in mind and purpose as they were; but by his 
cunning, and his crafty tongue, had contrived to insi- 
nuate himself among the Asar (the Gods). He had 
three children» by a giantess, who were all evil ; viz. 
the Midgards Snake, Fenris Wolf, and Hel. Odin threw 
the Midgards Snake into the sea, where he grew to such a 
size that he encircled the earth, and bit his own tail. 
Fenris Wolf was bound to a rock ; but Hel was cast 
down to Niflhem, there to rule over all those who 
died of old age and sickness. Hel has been named 
after her. Thus shall these three remain till Ragnarök. 

It was a favourite amusement of the Gods to shoot at 
Balder, and laugh to see how arrows, lances, stones, 
and whatever missive was aimed at him glanced aside 
without wouading him ; and all thought that this was 
greatly to his honour. This made Loke envious. He 
discovered that Frigg had neglected to take the oath of a 
little plant called the Misletoe. He therefore went, 
and plucking it made of it a lance which he gave to 
Höder the Blind, one of the Gods, begging him to 
throw it at Balder, and thus conduce to Balder's 
honour. Höder replied that he could not throw the 
lance, because he could not see. Then Loke aimed 
the lance for Höder, who cast it so that Balder was 
pierced, and fell dead to the ground. This was the 
greatest misfortune by which Gods and men could be 
overtaken. One of the Gods rode to HePs dwelling to 
redeem Balder; but Hel answered that she was to 
keep him unless the whole world would weep his death. 


Then the Gods sent out messengers^ and desired that 
every thing in the world should weep the death of 
Balder. This was also done, and every thing which 
has life, both Gods and men, plants and animals, stones 
and earth, wept the death of Balder ; but on his way 
home, the messenger met a giant woman named Took, 
who refused to weep for Balder. Hel therefore re- 
tained him in her power. The Gods were afterwards 
told that it was Loke in TocVs shape, who had caused 
them this second sorrow. They therefore sought for 
him, bound him on three rocks» and hung a snake over 
him, in such a manner, that the poison dropped on 
Loke's face. The Edda further relates that his wife, 
Sigyn, sits by him and receives the poison in a dish. 
When it is full and she goes to empty it, the poison 
then drops on Lokens &ce« and then with his agonized 
struggles the whole world shakes. And thus shall Loke 
lie till Ragnarök. 



The last days of the world are called Ragnarök, or the 
Twilight of the Gods. Then shall there be constant war 
and bloodshed. Brothers shall murder brothers, chil- 
dren will not spare their parents, and numberless will 
be the crimes committed. This shall be followed by a 
dreadfully severe winter which shall last three years 
without any summer. The serpent of Midgard shall 
writhe up from the bottom of the sea, and come on 
shore ; upon which the whole ocean shall, roaring, over- 
leap its boundaries. The earth will begin to quake, 
and everything to be rent in pieces, and Loke and the 


Fenris Wolf shall be set at liberty. Then shall Surtur 
come from Muspelshem and ride up to Bifrost which 
will break in pieces under his feet. Then he with Loke, 
the serpent of Midgard, the Fenris Wolf, and all the 
Rimtussar will take the field on a wide plain called 

When Heimdal sees this, he will arise and blow 
aloud his Gjallarhorn, so that the whole earth shall 
re-echo to the sound. Then will Odin ride to Mimer's 
Well, seeking counsel, but finding none. Ygdrasil shall 
shake, and all in HeaVen and earth shall tremble. The 
Asar shall array themselves to battle, and ride forth 
with the Einheriar to the Plain Wigrid. First shall 
ride Odin with his noble lance Gugner. The Fenris 
Wolf shall advance upon him gaping so wide, that while 
the lower portion of the jaw razes the ground, the 
other shall reach up to Heaven ; and were there more 
room, he would stretch it yet wider open. The Fenris 
Wolf shall thus swallow Odin ; but be himself finally 
cut to pieces by Widar the Chaste, the son of Odin. 
Thor will encounter with the snake of Midgård and slay 
him ; but nine steps further on, himself shall fall suffo- 
cated by the Serpent's poison. Loke and Heimdal shall 
mutually slay each other. Then shall the sun and 
moon become black, and the stars shall fall from 
Heaven. Surtur shall scatter fire around which shall set 
the whole earth in a blaze, and it shall finally sink to 
the bottom of the sea. 

After this shall come a new and perfect worid ; and 
evil is now passed. From the bosom of the ocean shall 
arise an ever-blooming earth, with falling streams and 
self sown fields. The sun has borne a daughter as fair, 
who now shall wander in her mother's* path through 
* The sun in Swedish as in German is feminine. — ^Tb. 


the sky. Balder the Good shall return^ and with him 
all the just and righteous, and a new race shall inhabit 
the earth. The Almighty, whose name may not be 
uttered, shall now come to judge and govern all. The 
virtuous shall dwell in the glorious castle Gimle which 
is brighter than the sun, and covered with gold. But 
far away lies the hold called Narstraud, with its gates 
turned towards the north. The walls of its courts are 
of woven serpents, whose heads hang downwards and 
vomit forth venom, so that streams of poison flow 
upon the floors. And here shall the perjured, and 
murderers, and other evil men, dwell to all Eternity. 






OuB earliest traditions shed but little light upon the 
state of Sweden before the Christian era. The country 
was covered with vast forests^ the inhabitants of which 
led a wandering life supporting themselves chiefly by 
fishing and hunting. Their weapons were clubs^ stone 
knives^ and bows and arrows. Their clothes were the 
skins of wild beasts ; their dwellings, small huts half- 
buried beneath the ground. Nothing is known of any 
regular government, or the name of any King at this 
period. Odin and Thor were worshipped as Gods. 
The Greeks called the land Thule, and the Romans 
Scandinavia, describing it as a cold and desert country. 


ODIn's arrival in SWEDEN. 

About a century before the birth of Christ, in a 
region to the north-east of the Black Sea, lived a people 
called the Asar, the name of whose chief was Sigge 
Fridulfson. The Romans, at that time had subdued 
all the neighbouring nations, leaving the Asar no peace, 
when Sigge resolved to emigrate with his people to a 
new country further north. The Asar at this time were 
more ingenious^ and further advanced in all the arts 

B 3 


than the rest of the northern nations. Sigge^ in parti- 
cular^ was remarkable for wisdom and prudence. He 
knew that Odin was worshipped by all the northern 
lands; he therefore commenced his wanderings with 
much solemnity, declaring himself to be Odin, and his 
chiefs the other Gods. Thus he past through many 
countries, as Russia^ Saxony and Westphalia, placing 
his sons everywhere as Kings. He stopped some time 
in Denmark, on the Island of Fyen, and founded there 
the town called Odinsee, bearing his name ; but learn- 
ing that there were large fruitful tracts to the north in 
Sweden, he left Denmark to his son Sköld, who built 
a town called Leire in Seland^ where his descendants 
reigned long under the name of Sköldungar. Odin 
himself sailed up to Sweden^ in which, at that time^ 
reigned a King called Gylfe, the first whom history 
mentions. He received Odin with sacred honours, and 
opened his kingdom to him. Odin proceeded to found 
a town on Lake Malar, which he called after his own 
name Sigtuna, or Sigge's Home. He made his own 
residence, and founded a temple there ; but divided the 
neighbouring country among his chiefs whom he ap- 
pointed to preside at the sacrifices, and to assist him 
in the administration of justice; these chiefs were 
termed Diar, and looked upon as Gods ; but Odin wals 
considered as chief of all. 

He was possessed of a handsome and majestic mien ; 
and when he sat at a feast with his friends, his presence 
gladdened all; but to his enemies he was cruel and 
terrific. His eloquence was such, that whatever he 
said was alone thought to be true. He introduced the 
art of poetry into the north, and was the first who 
there used the art of writing. His letters were called 
Runor, and were carved in wood ; the people believed 


he could work ^charms with them. It is said that he 
understood another species of sorcery^ called Seid^ so 
that with a few syllables he could extinguish fire, quiet 
the sea, and change the wind. He could even let his 
body lie as dead^ while his soul in the shape of a bird, 
a fish or some othar animal, carried his messages all 
round the earth. He had a ship called Skidbladner 
which could be folded together like a sheet of paper, 
and had fair wind in whatever direction he pleased^ 
which probably signifies that he was the first in the 
North who used sails, and understood tacking in con- 
trary wind. His men rushed forward in combat with 
great strength and impetuosity, using no defensive 
armour, whence they were called Berserks, or Mail-less, 
and such an attack was called Berserkagang. 


odin's laws. 

Odin imposed a tax for every nose, or person in the 
country : this was called the nose-tax. He also ordered 
that every dead person with his possessions should be 
burnt on a pyre, and the higher the flame arose, the 
greater was the glory of the dead in Walhalla. The 
ashes were to be buried, and cairns raised above the 
graves of men of high descent ; but Bauta stones were 
to be set up to the memory of those who had done 
great actions. He also taught that those who had 
fallen in combat, or otherwise met with a violent death, 
would come to him in Walhalla, and there enjoy great 
happiness. He therefore chose not to die a straw-death 
(in his bed on straw), but when he understood that his 
end was approaching, he caused himself to be pricked 
or marked with the point of a lance (Qejrsodd) and 


thus died^ saying he was going before to Walhalla to 
prepare great joy for his followers. The people now 
believed that he had gone to Asgård^ or the dweUing 
of the old Gods ; and they imagined that he often re- 
vealed himself to them in sleep when great wars were 
at hand, awarding victory to some, and inviting others ta 
come to him in Walhalla, and both lots were considered 
good alike. From this belief, the people derived great 
valour in battle, and courage in despising death. Those 
who lived to grow old caused themselves to be marked 
with the Gejrsodd, or threw themselves down steep 
rocks, (of which many are shewn in Sweden to this 
day, under the name of Ättestupor)., rather than die 
a despised, natural death. 



Njord became Droth in Sigtuna after Odin. In 
his time seasons were favourable and harvests plentiful, 
so that after his death he was worshipped as the God 
of winds and weather. He was succeeded by his son 
Yngwe Frey; these two had entered the kingdom 
together with Odin, and were considered as Gods. 
Yngwe removed the court from Sigtuna to Upsala, 
where he built a large temple. He appointed certain 
estates all over the kingdom for the maintenance of the 
King, and the supply of the sacrifice in the temple. 
These were called Upsala-öde or estates, but are now 
called Kongs-gardar, or royal-estates. In Yngwe Frey's 
time, it is said there was peace over all the earth, and 
it is supppsed that the Birth of Christ happened at 
this period. Yngwe Frey was interred at Upsala, 


where äie cairns of many of the old Kings yet remain. 
His statue^ together with those of Odin and Thor, 
was set up in the Upsala temple. The people were 
collected there three times a year for sacrifice and 
counsel ; the greatest meeting was at Midwinter^ and 
was called Allshärjarting, (the Meeting of the whole 
Host)^ or Ting allra Swia, (all Sweden^s Ting or 
Assize), when the King standing upon one of the cairns 
or funereal heights, took counsel with all the people 
collected, heard their complaints, and laid his plans be- 
fore them, with which they expressed content or dis- 
satisfaction by loud cries, striking their shields, and 
clashing of arms. 

The descendants of this Yngwe Frey were called 
Ynglingar, after him, and were long presidents over the 
sacrifices in Upsala, as well as the possessors of su- 
preme power in Sweden. 



The Ynglingar who reigned in Upsala were for- 
merly called Drotts ; but Dyggve, the tenth in succes- 
sion, first assumed the title of King. His grandson 
was called Agne. He was a great hero in war, and had 
many ships with which he made continual predatory 
expeditions or Wikingatåg, for which reason he received 
the surname of Skjafrboandi or Skeppsbo (the Dweller 
in Ships). One summer he set forth with all his 
troops to make a descent on Finland, where they com- 
mitted great ravages. Froste, the leader of the Finns, 
collected a force and advanced against Agne. A severe 
conflict ensued, in which Froste fell with a consider- 


able number of his people. Agne then marched romid 
the country^ subdued it^ and on returning home car- 
ried Tvith him Frostens daughter Skjalf, and his son 
Loge as prisoners. On his return to Sweden, he an- 
chored his fleet at Stocksund, as the straits were then 
called, through which the Lake Malar empties itself 
into the sea, and where Stockholm is now situated. 
At that time, this place was covered with thick dark 
forests. King Agne here celebrated his nuptials with 
Skjalf, and at her request, caused a funeral feast for her 
father to be held at the same time. King Agne wore 
round his neck a precious gold chain, which had been 
promised by one of Ague's ancestors as a dower to his 
bride ; but he afterwards rejected her, and refused the 
promised portion ; on which a witch decreed, as a pu- 
nishment, that this chain should bring death to the 
chiefs of the Ynglingar. Agne had drunk much at 
Froste's funeral feast, and when he laid himself down 
to slumber in his tent, Skjalf bade him take care of his 
chain, whereon he fastened it tight round his neck. 

When he had fallen asleep, Skjalf bound a strong 
rope to the chain, and drew it up over the branches of 
a tree which stood above the tent. With the assist- 
ance of her men, she then hauled Agne up in the air, 
where he hung till he died. Herself, with Loge and the 
other Finns, stole on board their ships and returned to 
Finland. This is said to have happened at the place 
where Stockholm now stands, and the spot was long 
called Agnes-fit or Agnes-Strand in memory of the 

Ague's two sons, Alrik and Erik, took the kingdom 
after him, and the Swedish sceptre began now to be 
borne by two brothers, whereas tiU this time it had 
never had but one King. 






The sixteenth Bang of the Ynglingar race was called 
Ane. He feared war, and therefore remained quietly 
at home in his own kingdom^ being much addicted to 
sacrifice. He was conquered and driven out by two 
foreign Kings, but survived them both, and returned to 
the throne in Upsala. The last time he was one hun- 
dred years old. It is said that he then every tenth 
year sacrificed one of his sons to Odin that he might 
live long, and that he received ten years^ life for each 
son. Thus he sacrificed nine sons, and lived to one 
hundred and ninety; but was so weak that he was 
obliged to lie in bed, and to suck nourishment from a 
horn like an infant. He notwithstanding desired a still 
longer life, and therefore ordered that his tenth son 
should be sacrificed; but this the Swedes would not 
permit, and thus Ane died of old age, without sickness 
or pain; whence such a death has been called after him 
Anesot, and was considered little commendable by our 
forefathers. Ane himself obtained the surname of Old. 




At this time there lived in Norway a renowned 
champion who had just begun to distinguish himself 
in war, and was famed for bravery. His name was 
Odd ; and he was called örwar Odd, i. e. Arrow Odd, 
for he had enchanted arrows which never missed the 
mark at which he aimed, and then returned to his 
hand. His first expedition was to Bjarmaland. He 
was exposed to great dangers, but overcame them all 
by bravery and boldness, acquiring at the same time 
much wealth, so that this voyage gained him great re- 
nown all over the north. He then overcame many 
Vikings. Being ready to set out, he asked his father, 
one spring, where he should find the bravest men and 
the most resistance, for he now thought himself fit for 
the highest deeds of prowess. The father then said, 
^^ You must seek for Hjalmar the Bold, and his foster 
brother Tord Stafngalm, who live in Upsala at King 
Ane^s court, and are the champions of his land, for they 
are the boldest men I know.'^ Odd returned thanks 
for this advice, and set out for Sweden. 

One evening he anchored off a little promontory and 
landed there. He presently discovered fifteen ships 
which belonged to Hjalmar and Tord ; but the crews 
were on shore amusing themselves with wrestling. 
Odd determined to try if these men really were as 
courageous as they were reported to be, now divided 
his people into two bodies, and gave orders to hi5^ ., 
brother Gudmund to advance with his men along the 
promontory, while Odd conducted his to the wood 
behind Hjalmar's people. Gudmund and his men now 


set up a shout^ which was soon echoed by one from 
Odd and his troop. But it is said that Hjalmar and 
his men paid no attention to the first shout, and when 
they heard the second behind them, they stopped while 
it lasted ; but immediately resumed their game as if it 
mattered nothing. Odd and Gudmund now drew back 
and met. Odd said : ^^ More will be needed here than 
shouting and crying, and these men seem not to fear 
the fight.^^ «*What shall we then do?^^ asked Gud- 
mund, and Odd replied, '^That they would not un- 
awares attack such men as these^ but wait till morning.'^ 
And so it happened* The second day when the dawn 
hegan to appear. Odd and his men arrayed themselves 
to battle, and sailed towards Hjalmar. Hjalmar asked, 
^* Who commands this people V^ ** He is called Odd,*' 
answered Odd himself. " Are you that Odd who went 
to Bjarmaland ?^* asked Hjalmar again. ^^ That am I,'^ 
answered Odd ; '^ and I would try which of us is the 
better man.'' "We can try that,'' replied Hjalmar; 
** but how many ships have you ?" ** Five," said Odd, 
^* how many hast thou ?" " I have fifteen," answered 
Hjalmar; ^'but our numbers shall not be unequaL I 
will lay ten ships aside, and go against thee with five." 
" Manfully spoken," said Odd. 

Whereupon they armed themselves, and began the 
most violent combat which lasted till evening. The 
chiefs then caused the shield of peace to be held up, 
(it was white, and the showing of it signified a cessation 
of hostilities) ; and Hjalmar asked, " How Odd thought 
the day had gone ?" Odd was well satisfied. Hjalmar 
asked, ** If he chose to continue the sport any longer ?" 
" Aye," answered Odd, ** for I have never met with 
braver or stronger handed men.*' 

They now went to their tents, pnd let their men 


attend to themselves and bind their wounds. The 
next day they renewed the strife; and when in the 
evening the shield was held up: Odd asked how 
Hjalmar liked the sport ? ^' Well/' answered Hjalmar. 
« Wilt thou more of it ?'' '' That I wUl/' said Odd ; 
*^ and now we shall make a fair trial of our swords.'^ 
Then spoke Tord Stafngalm and asked^ ^^ Is there 
much wealth on your ships ?'' Odd returned a negative 
answer, saying, " That this summer they had won 
nothing yet,'^ *^Here then/' said Tord, ^*are the 
wisest of men found fighting merely through emulation 
and temerity* To my mind it would be much better 
that we should enter into an alliance/^ ^^It pleases 
me well/^ said Odd; **but I know not what Hjalmar 
will say to it/' Hjalmar was content, provided Odd 
agreed for himself and his people to enter into Hjal- 
mar's Yiking Code. ^^ I must hear it first before I 
agree to it/' answered Odd. Hjalmar then named the 
conditions : 

1^. Never to eat raw meat, or drink blood, for that 
they are considered as food for wolves, and not for men. 

20. Never to plunder merchant boats, or peasants ; 
but to pay for every thing which they went on shore to 

30, Never to offer violence to women. He who 
breaks these shall lose his life, whoever he may be. 

Odd agreed to these conditions, and they entered 
into a fraternal compact. This took place according to 
custom in the following manner. They cut a very 
broad band of turf, so long that the ends hung down to 
the ground, and lifted up the band on their spears. 
Hereupon both the men stepped under it, wounded 
themselves, and let their blood run together to the 
ground. They then knelt, and swore they would par- 


take one and the same fate, as well as revenge each 
other's deaths as brothers. All the Gods were called to 
witness this oath, which was finally confirmed by clasp* 
ing each other's hands. After this, the foster-brothers, 
as they were now called, set forth in arms together, and 
gained great booty during the summer. In autumn, 
Hjalmar invited Odd to accompany him to Upsala, and 
pass the winter there. Odd agreed, and they did so. 
King Ane received them well, and after some time gave 
Odd four estates. 

Ane had a daughter named Ingeborg, and she was 
the wisest and fairest of maidens. One day when Odd 
and Hjalmar were conversing; Odd said, *^ Why dost 
thou not ask the King's daughter in marriage, for I see 
you understand each other ?^' " Truly I have sued for 
Ingeboi^,'^ answered Hjalmar ; **but the King will only 
marry her to one who bears the kingly title.'' " Then," 
said Odd, ^^ we will collect our people in the summer, 
and offer the King two conditions ; either to fight with 
us, or to give thee Ingeborg.*' Hjalmar replied, "This 
may I not do, for Ane is my King, and I have sworn 
fealty to him as his champion/'* 

Thus the fiiends passed the winter together, and in 
spring renewed their expeditions, by which they won- 
great riches, for none could resist them ; and in autumn 
they returned to winter in Upsala. During one of 
these voyages, Odd received a silken shirt from a 
Princess in Ireland, which was so charmed in the 
weaving, that steel could not penetrate it, and as long 
as Odd wore it, neither fire, water, nor sword could 

♦ The champion or protector of the land, took upon himself 
to defend and protect the country against all hostile attacks, and 
it was always requisite that he should be a great and renowned 


injure bim, provided he did not fly, for then it could 
no longer protect him. Odd valued this as a precious 
gift, and never took off the shirt. 


andgbim's sons. 

At that time there lived in Bolmsö, or Bornholm as 
it is now called, a warrior whose name was Andgrim, 
and his wife Eywor. They had twelve sons, the eldest 
was called Angantyr, and was a head taller than the 
rest, as well as braver and superior to other men. He 
had received from his father the good sword Tirfing 
which had been made by the dwarfs for Odin^s grandson 
Swafiirlane, and possessed the virtue of piercing all, 
and of giving the victory to him who wielded it. The 
other eleven brothers were also great warriors ; and the 
fighting-madness or Berserkagang often seized them, so 
that they slew their own men, and landing from their 
ships fought with trees and stones. Therefore they 
wandered about alone, never meeting resistance, be- 
cause the people dreaded them, and an evil report went 
out against them through the land. 

One Yule eve (the Midwinter festivity) these brothers 
were sitting at home with their father promising deeds 
of future valour as the custom then was. Hjorward 
boasted that he would marry Ingeborg, the daughter of 
King Ane in Sweden. Accordingly the following spring 
these brothers set out for Upsala, and presented them- 
selves before Ane, to whom Hjorward declared his 
message, requiring an immediate answer. Ane began 
to hesitate, considering of what high descent, and what 
renowned warriors these brothers were. But when 


Hjalmar heard tijorward's desire^ he stepped before 
King Ane and said : 

" Remember^ Sire, how much respect and service I 
have shown you, as well as how many years I have 
protected your kingdom 1 Therefore I beg that you will 
give me your daughter whom I long have loved. And 
it is more seemly that you let this honour accrue to 
me than to these strangers who have committed but 
crimes, both in your own and other kingdoms.'' 

Then was Ane in a sore strait ; but he finally made 
answer that he could not prefer either of these illustrious 
men before the other, but would leave Ingeborg to 
choose for herself. Ingeborg then affirmed that she 
would have him for her husband who was already 
known to her by many good qualities : thus accepting 
Hjalmar. Hjorward then challenged him to a single 
combat* or Samsö, calhng Hjalmar the object of every 
man's contempt if he should avoid this combat ; but 
Hjalmar replied he would not fail to come. On this, 
Andgrim's sons retunred home. When they gave their 
father an account of their journey and of the challenge, 
he warned them that they would require good swords 
and weapons, for they would now meet with strong- 
handed and tough Vikings. 



On the appointed day, Hjalmar and Odd arrived at 
Samsö having two well-armed ships with them. The 
foster-brothers went on shore to look if Andgrim's sons 

* HohDgång. The word actually signifies descent on an island, 
and figuratively a single combat, for these were held generally on 
islands in the sea, or within small enclosures on shore, which were 
then also called islands. 


were come, Hjalmar was fully armed, but Odd had but 
an ax in his hand^ with which he cut wood for a block 
which had been broken in the ship. During their 
absence, Andgrim's sons came to their ship, when the 
fighting madness attacked them, so that they bit their 
shields, cried aloud, and went aboard six on each 
vessel, hewing down everything that presented itself; 
but the crews were composed of men of such courage 
that not one fled, but each kept his place^ and fell at his 
post. When all were slain, the Berserks shouted, 
*^Our father Andgrim has lied when he called these 
stout and strong-fisted men, and we ought to return 
and kill the worthless old man as a reward for his lie." 
They then laid each ship's company on their places at 
the oars, and finding that both the steersmen were 
wanting, they understood that Hjalmar and Odd were 
not amongst the slain. The fighting madness then 
passed away from them, and as usual left them weak 
and exhausted as sick men. 

Hjalmar and Odd now returned, and saw the Berserks 
and what they had done. Then quoth Hjalmar : 

Men full of courage 

Descend from their vessels» 

Twelve valiant brothers 

To shiver our lances. 

We shall this evening 

Guests be with Odin, 

Two men of courage. 

The twelve they may live still. 

This was the only time that despairing words were 
heard from Hjalmar^s lips ; but Odd answered : 
Thus will I answer. 
Such word of thine : 
They shall this evening 
Guests be with Odin. 
They, twelve Berserker, 
We two shall live still. 


'^ Or perhaps thou wouldst fly to the forest?'* said 

But Hjalmar replied : 

Never will we fly 
Before any enemy ; 
Even should they seem 
Too many for us. 

Then Odd hastened to the forest and cut a club^ 
with which the foster-brothers went down to the shore, 
where they met the sons of Andgrim. One of them 
was a head taller than the rest, and carried a sword 
which shone like sunbeams. This was Angantyr with 
the sword Tirfing. Then Hjalmar asked, " Wilt thou 
brother fight with Angantyr, for I depend more on my 
shirt than on your armour V* 

Hjalmar said: ^^If you think it more difficult to 
fight with AngdLXitjTf I will do it ; for when did we ever 
take our arms, and I let you go before me when it 
came to the point ?'^ 

" Thou dost ill now,'^ said Odd; but Hjalmar would 
have it so. 

After this they agreed with Angantyr that he who 
fell should not be plundered, but placed in his cairn 
with all his arms and ornaments. Then Hjalmar and 
Angantyr advanced on each other with mighty blows, 
so that a sharper attack was never seen; but Odd called 
on the other eleven, saying : 

One shall to one 
Stand in the combat» 
If men of honomr 
And courage there fail not. 

They agreed to this, and Odd and Hjorward 
advanced against each other. The silk shirt however 


was of such avail, that nothing wounded Odd ; bathe 
dealt so many blows with his club that he slew Hjor* 
ward first, and then the other ten brothers one afiter 
the other^ and still had received no wound. Then he 
went to the place where Hjalmar and Angantyr had 
fought. Angantyr was then fallen, but Hjalmar sat 
leaning against a hillock on the ground. Odd went to 
him, and quoth : 

How art thou Hjalmar ? 
Why changes thy colour ? 
Thou art sore troubled 
With deep and great gashes. 
Cleft is thy helmet. 
Pierced is thy armour ; 
Thy life I see now 
On its last journey. 

Hjalmar answered : 

Wounds have I sixteen. 
And a cleft helmet. 
Dark is it before my eyes, 
I cannot walk now. 
Angantyr's sword 
Drank of my heart's blood. 
With its keen edge 
Tempered with poison. 

"Now I have seen the greatest sorrow I can suffer in 
life,^' said Odd ; " and thy counsel has turned out ill, 
otherwise we should here have gained a glorious 
victory.*' Hjalmar answered : " Every man must die 
at last; but thou shalt carry my farewell home to 

He then sung his death-song, declaring his prefer- 
ence of a sea-life before a peaceful one on shore ; his 
parting with the King's fair daughter, and desiring his 
helmet and cuirass to be brought into the IQng^s halls 


and shewn to all, when he thought her heart would 
heave at the sight of the cuirass cloven at the breast ; 
and ended by desiring the ring of red gold to be taken 
off his finger and given to her as a confirmation of the 
words she had spoken herself at their parting, that they 
should never meet again. 

He then gave the ring to Odd, and afterwards re- 
quested to be carried to Upsala, and not buried amidst 
these wicked and wizard-like Berserks. He then sent 
his last salutation to his brothers in arms, and sung 

Sitting with monarchs 
Many a warrior 
Drinks ale with joy 
In Upsala city. 
Many a one bows him 
Before the strong mead-cup. 
But me, my womids keep me 
Here on the sea shore. 

The crow from the south now 

Comes over the heath. 

The high-soaring eagle 

Followeth after. 

He shall suck up 

The red blood, the frothy. 

I have cut eagle's food 

Now for the last time. 


Thus died Hjalmar. Odd drew all the Berserks to- 
gether^ letting each retain his weapons^ and laid 
Tirfing under Angantyr's head. He then threw up 
great mounds over them^ and did the same with his 
own men. He then carried Hjalmar down to the ship. 
It is related of Odd, that he believed neither in Odin 
or Thor, or any other divinity save his own strength 
and fortune^ which was said to have been so great 

VOL. I. c 



that if he but hoisted his sail he obtained favourable 
wind for whatsoever place he desired to visit. In this 
manner he now sailed to Sweden. He drew the ship 
on shore, took the body of Hjalmar on his shoulders, 
and thus returned to Upsala. He laid Hjalmar down 
without the hall door, and then entered, carrying his 
friend^s helmet and cuirass in his hand. These he laid 
down before Ane^' and related the fall of Hjalmar. 
Afterwards he went to Ingeborgs who was seated in 
her chair embroidering a mantle for Hjalmar. Odd 
presented himself before her, and said : '^ Hjalmar 
saluted thee, and sent thee this ring in his dying mo- 
ment/' Ingeborg took the ring, looked at him, an- 
swered nothing, and sunk down dead at his feet. Then 
Odd took her up, and bore her forth, and laid her in 
Hjalmar's arms, saying: "Now may the dead enjoy 
that bliss which fate denied the living." 

Odd afterwards desired that Hjalmar's funeral feast 
should be celebrated, and he and Ingeborg buried in 
the same mound. King Ane allowed him to do as he 
pleased, and thus a stately cairn was raised above them. 
Odd afterwards wandered ^ide about the worlds and 
none could ever conquer him. He also reached Jeru- 
salem, and became a Christian, and many tales are told 
of his prowess. 

But the great cairns over the warriors in Samso 
were seen for many hundred years, and a saying went 
out amongst the people^ that at night great fires blazed 
out of them, and a great sound was beard over the 
whole island from the entombed Berserks. 






The twentieth King of the TngUng was called Adil. 
He was a very rich and powerfal King^ but was besides 
parsimonious, cruel^ deceitful and envious. He was 
also much given to the service of idols and sacrifice^ 
so that die people esteemed him a magician. He was 
himself no great warrior, therefore maintained twelve 
Berserks at his court, who should defend his kingdom 
against foreign invasions. 

Helge was the name of the King of the Sköldungar 
race, who reigned at this time in Denmark. He was 
a very superior man, brave and fearless towards his 
enemies, mild and pleasant towards his friends, and 
therefore loved and feared by all. He made Yrsa, an 
unknown woman from Saxony, who was both fair, wise, 
and gentle, his Queen ; but when it was afterwards dis- 
covered that Yrsa was his daughter, she travelled back 
to her mother although she loved Helge much, and 
though he would willingly have retained her. Then 
King Adil courted her, and she was obliged, however 
distressed, to consent, and accompany him to Upsala ; 
but their intercourse never became very friendly. 

King Helge lived meanwhile in continual sorrow and 
weariness since Yrsa had lefl him. Feeling at last a 

c 2 


craving desire to visit her in Upsala, he prepared for 
the purpose a strong army^ for he intended at the same 
time to punish Adil for venturing to take her to wife, 
without asking Helge, her father's consent. When this 
expedition was spoken of in Upsala, King Adil deter- 
mined by Yrsa's advice to receive Helge well, her pro- 
ject being to reconcile the two Kings. When, therefore, 
Helge laid to on the coast, messengers were despatched 
to him, inviting him to be the guest of the King. 
Helge accepted the invitation, and thus rode up to 
court with a part of his people, leaving the greater 
number still with his ships. A very splendid feast had 
been prepared for him; but when Helge saw his daugh- 
ter Yrsa, he was so overjoyed that he forgot the enter- 
tainment and everything else, and desired only to speak 
with her. This filled Adil with rage and jealousy. He 
sent out his Berserks and other troops, and laid them 
in ambush waiting King Helge's return to his ships, 
and when he was riding back he was attacked unawares, 
surprised by superior numbers, so that he finally fell, 
after a brave and manly resistance. King Adil gloried 
much in his victory over so mighty a King ; but Yrsa 
said, that such a deceitful victory was nothing to boast 
of, and that since Helge had thus been murdered, she 
would henceforth, whenever she could, seek the injury 
of JCing Adil and his Berserks. 



A RICH peasant in Swedeii called Swipur had thr< 
sons, Swipdager, Bejgader ajid Hwitserk, and all thr 
were strong and courageous. Whw Swipdager w? 


eighteen years old, he went to his &ther saying : '^ Our 
life Mrill become odious to us if we are to remain up 
here amongst the mountains without seeing any one, 
therefore I intend to go to King. Adil and see if he will 
accept me/^ The old man advised him against this, 
telling him how avaricious and deceitful Adil was 
known to be; but Swipdager opined that one must 
venture something to win honour and renown in the 
world. He accordingly procured excellent arms, and a 
good horse with which he set out. 

When he arrived, he saw how the courtiers were car- 
rying on all sorts of games outside the castle; but King 
Adil sat on a golden chair, and looked on with all his 
Berserks around him. Swipdager rode boldly forward, 
saluted the King, told his name, and then seated him- 
self to look on the games. The Berserks looked sour 
at him, and said to the King, '^ That they had a mind 
to try if this man was as strong and manly as he ap- 
peared.*' The King agreed, but as evening was now 
coming on, all the people went into the hall of the 
castle. The Berserks then went up to Swipdager and 
asked him if he were a warrior, to which he answered, 
" That he was not at least inferior to any of them.^* 
This made them wrathful, and they asked ''if he 
dared to fight with them, and that if so, he should need 
more than boastful and contemptuous words.^' Swip- 
dager said, '' That he was ready to fight with them in 
turn, one at a time ;** but the King commanded them to 
wait till the morning. Queen Yrsa meanwhile re- 
vived Swipdager with all honour and good cheer; 
which when the Berserks saw, they said to her, *' That 
they knew very well she desired their death, for King 
Hdge's sake ; nevertheless they would find means to 
conquer her pride, for they in no wise feared the newly 


arrived stranger/^ and upon this they parted for the 

The following morning they held their combat in the 
castle-yard, and many people were ^assembled to look 
on. Many and mighty blows were distributed ; but it 
was easy for every one to percrive that Swipdager was 
the better man, for the one Berserk after the other fell 
before him. When he had killed four of them, the 
King arose, saying s ^' Thou hast now done me great 
mischief, and shall pay it with thy life/' He tiberefore 
ordered his men to seize upon Swipdager ; but Queen 
Yrsawith many followers presented herself from the 
other side and assisted him, so that peace was made 
this time. In the evening, when- the King remarked 
Swipdager once go out alone, he exhorted his Berserks 
to hasten after him, and revenge the death of their com- 
panions. They did so, but though all eight fell upon 
him at one time, they could not overcome him, and 
when the attendants heard the noise, they rushed out, 
and the King was compelled to tell them to finish the 
strife, after which he banished the Berserks because 
they had been unable to despatch a single man. In 
their place at Queen Yrsa^s instigation he named Swip- 
dager, champion of his land, as one who was equal to 
the other twelve Berserks. 

Now these exiled champions began to ravage King 
Adil^s country; but Swipdager lead out the troops 
against them, killing some and routing others, and re- 
turning with victory and renown to Upsak. Shortly 
after they assembled an army and recommenced theif 
ravages. It was then agreed that Swipdager with a 
third of the Swedish troops should meet them, while 
Adil with his warriors, and äie rest of the troops should 
fall on them behind in the mid»fe of the fight. When the 


battle begun, the Berserks had twice as many men^ 
which caused a speedy clearance in Swipdager's ranks. 
In vain they looked for helpfirom King Adil. He stood 
motionless with his troops in a wood, behind the. Ber- 
serks, and would not adrance till the battle was done, 
intending then to join, the party who had gained the 
victory. Swipdager was therefore in a great strait; he 
defended himself bravely, but had already lost an eye 
and received many other severe wounds, so that he 
began to think that he should certainly sup with Odin ; 
but just at that moment, his two brothers Bejgader and 
Hwitserk arrived, sent by the old man, Swipur their 
fiEither, to assist him. They advanced boldly in the 
fight, soon found the Berserks, who one after the other 
were compelled to bite the ground. This fortunate as- 
sistance cheered Swipdager's people, so that the loss 
began to be greatest on the Berserks^ side, and the 
remainder finally yielded themselves into the power of 
the brothers. King Adil now marched out of the 
wood, exalting their victory, after which the whole 
company returned to Upsala, and Swipdager was for a 
time forced to keep his bed on account of his wounds, 
during which time Queen Yrsa nursed and attended 
him. Scarcely, however, was he recovered, before he 
and his brothers presented themselves to King Adil, 
saying that they would seek another King, who would 
show them more honour and recompense them better 
than he. Adil begged them to remain, promising to 
honour them before others j but they were not to be 
mollified, for Swipdager was highly indignant at Adil's 
false behaviour in the battle. They therefore went in 
before Queen Yrsa thanking her for the great honours 
and kindness she had shewn them ; after which they 
moimted their horses and rode to their father again. 
They then consulted him, and inquired of him to what 


King they should address themselves. Then Swipur 
said^ ^* that no King in tiie north could be compared with 
Eong Rolf in Denmark^ Beige's and Queen Trsa's son. 
He was mild and gentle towards the poor and op- 
pressed, severe and terrible to his enemies; but to- 
wards his friends so faithful and generous, that he 
spared them neither gold or other treasures ; for which 
reason the chief warriors in the north were found as- 
sembled round him, and all the neighbouring Kings were 
subject to him.'* 

The brothers thought these good conditions, and 
went to King Rolf, among whose attendants they were 
admitted, and so they continued till the end of summer. 

In the autumn King RolPs Berserks returned, who 
according to their custom went round to every man in 
the whole hall, asking if any considered himself their 
equal ; but all confessed them as their superiors. When 
they came to Swipdager and his brothers, these were in 
no wise inclined to humble themselves before the Ber- 
serks, and much tumult was about to arise in the hall 
in consequence, when King Rolf leapt up and separated 
them, and brought about a firm reconciliation between 
them, so that they afterwards kept him company in his 
Viking expeditions, and obtained constant victory where- 
ever they went. 



In the remote vallies of Norway lived at that perio< 
a tributary King named Ring. He had been a widowei 
but in his old age had married a woman from Finland 
called Hvita, who was certainly beautiful, but full c 


all manner of iniquity and malice, and had moreover 
a violent hatred for her step-son, the King's son Björn, 
(Bear.) At the time that this Saga was first written, 
the people still believed in witchcraft, and the inha* 
bitants of Finland were considered to be particularly 
expert in it. It was therefore reported that Queen 
Hvita by her enchantments transformed the King's son 
into a bear. It was said that in the day-time he went 
into the fields and fed on the King's cattle; but every 
night he reassumed his human form, and wept and 
lamented over his unhappy situation. The Queen was 
urgent that this mischievous beast should be destroyed. 
A great hunt was commanded, and the bear was finally 

Björn had a paramour called Berg, who became 
shortiy after the mother of three sons, Elgfrode, Tore 
and Bodwar. These three shot up like grass and soon 
became taller and stronger than other men, so that it 
was no joke to sport with or to tease them ; and it 
often happened, that when they were at play with the 
King's men, they handled them so roughly, that they 
were maimed and often wounded to death in conse- 
quence. This was especially the case with Elgfrode, for 
he was the strongest and the wildest. He therefore 
soon took leave of his mother, saying that he no longer 
chose to dwell with such weak and miserable men, and 
then set forth eastward towards Edaforest, through 
which the road passes between Norway and Sweden. 
He here settled himself in a cave, where he became a 
most cruel robber, attacking, plundering and killing all 
who joumied by. 

Shortiy after. Tore also took leave of his mother and 
set out eastward. When he arrived at the mountains, 
he met with Elgfrode, who offered him the half of the 

c 3 


property he had acquired if he would remain with him ; 
but Tore refused and joumied on further to Gotha- 
land, where, for the sake of his royal appearance and 
great bravery, he was chosen King, and ruled the king- 
dom with might and glory. 

Bod war was both more beautiful in person, and 
gentler in character than his brothers, for which reason 
his mother loved him most. One day he questioned 
her about his descent, wh«n she related ^everything 
about Hvita^s witchcraft and wickedness, as also his 
father's death. Then was Bodwar wrath, and went up 
to his grandfather the old King Ring, informing him of 
what had been done to his son Björn. The King 
oflFered to pay a great fine for the öueen ; but Bodwar 
would take no money for his father's life, but took 
possession of Hvita. She was obliged to suffer the 
most cruel and ignominious death, and none either 
would, or dared undertake her defSence. Shortly after 
King Ring died, and Bodwar was appointed King in his 
stead ; but he felt himself easy on his throne only a 
little while. He collected his people at a general Ting, 
and announced to them that he was about to leave the 
country; but meanwhile he left the kingdom to his 
mother, whom he married to Ulfsleiter Jarl. He finst 
attended this marriage, and then set out eastward. 

On this journey he came to Elgfrode^s cave ; and 
there was no small joy between the brothers when they 
recognised each other. Elg&ode desired Bodwar to 
remain with him, offering him the half of his treasures ^ 
but Bodwar said, ^^ He did not think it was right to 
murder people for the sake of their possessions,'' and 
prepared to depart. When Elgfrode saw that he wotdd 
not remain, he counselled him to travel to Rolf Krake 
in Denmark, and accompanied him on the way, in- 


forming him how, '^ He had granted many an unarmed 
man his life" This pleased Bodwar, who begged him 
to let others also go in peace. 

As they were about to part, Elgfirode seized hold of 
Bodwar, and shook him, saying, "Thou art not yet 
so strong, brother, as thou needstto be.^^ He therefore 
cut a hole in his leg, and gave Bodwar of the blood to 
drink. He then seized hold of him again ; but Bodwar 
stood now so firm, that even Elgfrode had no power to 
move him from the place. Then Elgfrode said : " Thou 
hast now strength sufficient, and I think thou wilt be 
found to surpass all other men in courage and manli<- 
ness.^' Then Elgfrode struck his own foot into the rock so 
bard that it left a deep mark, and spoke thus : " Every 
morning I shall visit this mark. If it is full of earth I 
shall know that you have died in your bed ; if of water 
that you are drowned ; but if there is blood in it, then 
you are slain with the sword, and I will seek to revenge 
your death, for I love you most of all my friends.'^ 
Hereupon the brothers parted, Elgfrode reascended the 
mountains, but Bodwar continued his route southward. 

In this manner he reached Gothaland, where his 
brother Tore was King, and Bodwar remained there 
awhile entertained with much hospitality and distinc- 
tion. Tore likewise offered to share his possessions 
with him, if Bodwar would remain with him, or other^ 
wise to give him armed men to accompany him on his 
journey ; but Bodwar refused both offers, preferring to 
depend upon himself alone. When he had thus taken 
leave of his brother, he continued his journey still fur- 
ther to the south. 

When Bodwar had at last come down to Denmark, 
not far from Lejre, it happened that he could find no 
night quarters, and was obliged to ride out in rain and 


darkness, though his horse was perfectly knocked up* 
At last he hit against sometiiing nigh which impeded 
further progress. Bodwar alighted in order to find out 
what it was, and discovered a little house. He knocked, 
and was cordially received by an old man, who with his 
wife lived in the cottage. As Bodwar related his inten- 
tion of travelling to King RolPs court, the old man 
and his wife began to discourse upon the King's men 
and their sports. The old man told him, that at the 
entrance of the King's castle lay a large stone, which, 
whoever would be accepted into the King's service 
must show himself able to lift. There were also two 
large dogs, the one as strong as six, the other as ten 
men, and neither was he who could not measure him- 
self with the smaller of these admitted amongst the 
proud warriors. As Bodwar and the old man were 
conversing, the poor old woman began to weep aloud. 
** Why weepest thou P' asked Bodwar. " Ah !" said 
she J ^^ we had once a son called Hottur, who went to 
the King's court for pleasure; but the men at arms 
made joke of him, and sat him in a heap of bones in a 
comer of the hall, and it is now their amusement 
during meals to throw the bones they have picked upon 
him, which sometimes wound him sadly. I shall never 
get him back again, neither do I know if he is dead 
or alive. Now I ask nothing of thee for this thy 
night's lodging, but that thou wilt not cast the large, 
but only the little bones on our son, for thy hands seem 
so strong and so heavy, that he could scarcely bear a 
blow from them." Bodwar promised this, and expressec 
his opinion that he did not think it very creditable tc 
beat a man with bones, or to use rough play with chil- 
dren or weak people. 



KING BOLF'b court. 

The following day Bodwar reached Lejre. He led 
his horse himself into the King's stable^ without saying 
a word to any one, and then went up to the castle. 
Both the dogs came raging towards him ; but he in- 
stantly lifted the large stone^ and slew the one dog with 
it; after which, with this dog, he killed the other. He 
then entered the hall^ when King Rolf reproached him 
with the murder of the dogs ; but Bodwar made answer^ 
that every free-born man had a right to defend his life 
as long as he could. The King praised his bravery, 
gave him the surname of Bjarke, and placed him in 
one of the chief places at his table. Now, when the 
men had drunk freely, they commenced, according to 
custom to pelt each other with the bones they had 
picked, which occasioned a great uproar through the 
hall. Bodwar now perceived a great heap of bones in 
one comer, and on advancing to it, discovered Hottur 
sitting, dirty^ ragged, and trembling, within a high wall 
which he had cleverly contrived to build round him of 
the bones which had been thrown at him, to preserve 
himself by this means from being hit by others. 
Bodwar knocked down the wall, took Hottur by the 
arm and lifted him up from amidst the bones; at 
which he cried and exclaimed pitifully, believing that 
Bodwar meant to kill him. But Bodwar took him to 
his own place, and made him stand there behind him. 
As soon as the courtiers saw Hottur, they began to 
throw bones at him, so that they often struck Bodwar 
also ; but of this he took not the slightest heed, but 
only held Hottur fast^ who trembled and shook for 


fear, and desired nothing so much as to run back and 
hide himself among his bones again. At last he ob- 
served one of these warriors sling a great knuckle-bone 
with all his might at Bodwar, and set up a cry of dis- 
tress at the sight; but Bodwar caught the bone in his 
hand, and slung it back with so much strength, that 
the man fell down dead beneath the blow. At this, 
the rest leapt up to revenge their brother in arms ; bat 
the King forbade it, saying : ^' That Bodwar had only 
defended himself, and that this throwing of bones at 
innocent, unarmed people, was a bad custom of his 
warriors, and a mark of great contempt and disregard 
to the King; and that it was time it should now be 
given up." Bodwar after this rose yet higher in the 
King's estimation, so that he was considered the chief 
amongst the courtiers. Nevertheless, he never foigot 
Hottur ; but having washed him clean, and given him 
fresh clothes, took him always with him wherever he 
went, and defended him from the jokes and mockeries 
of the rest. 



When the time of Yule drew near, all the courtiers 
began to be silent and melancholy; and on inquiring 
the reason of this, Bodwar learnt that every Yule-Eve, 
a monstrous wild beast, or more probably a goblin, ap- 
peared at Lejre, and did much damage amongst the 
King's cattle, and whoever hitherto had ventured to go 
against it had feUen. It seemed to Bodwar this was a 
great disgrace to the King's warriors ; but on Yule-Eve, 
King Rolf addressed his men, commanding them that 


none should go against the monster; but^ on the con- 
trary^ keep within and remain quiet that night ; for he 
preferred that it should destroy all his cattle rather 
than that he should lose any more of his men. 

About the middle of the night when all were sleep* 
ing, Bodwar arose silently, armed himself, went forth, 
taking Hottur with him, though he had no desire to 
accompany him. When they were at some distance 
from the castle, they perceived the monster coming 
raging against them. Hottur then b^an to cry out 
in great alarm that the wild beast would devour him. 
Bodwar commanded him to be silent, and threw him off 
his shoulders down in the moss, where he remained 
lying so possessed by fear, that he did not even dare to 
get up and run home. Bodwar advanced towards the 
animal; and it is shortly related, that by his great 
strength and sharp sword, he soon laid him dead on 
the ground; Bodwar then brought the trembling 
Hottur, and forced him, though with much trouble, 
to drink two long draughts of the animaPs blood, and 
eat a piece of- its heart. After this . Bodwar took hold 
of him, shook him, and said : ** Now, I doubt not but 
that you are strong enough no longer to fear the King's 
courtiers.'^ "Neither them, nor even you yourself!'^ 
answered Hottur who was now quite valiant. They 
then returned to the castle. The following morning 
Bodwar wished to persuade the King that it was 
Hottur who had slain the beast, but every one still 
believed that it was Bodwar ; they soon however per- 
ceived that Hottur had become quite another man, 
with whom it was no trifle to joke, for he was now 
found to be the strongest at Court next to Bodwar; 
nevertheless he never revenged himself on any of the 
courtiers for the mockery they had formerly shown 


towards him. The King was therefore well-pleased 
with him ; gave him the name of Hjälte^ the Able^ and 
as a proof of his favoar, a very costly sword; and 
from that time forth was Hjälte held in much esteem 
amongst the courtiers^ and became besides Bodwar 
Bjarke's most confidential friend ; and thus this whole 
year passed away. 

The following Tule^ the King's Berserks came home 
from their long Viking expeditions, entered the hall 
clothed in steel from head to foot, marching round it^ 
challenged any one to dare to compare himself with 
them. All bowed humbly before them declining an 
answer, and thus they passed along the benches till 
they came to Bodwar. He replied, "That not only 
was he as good, but much better than they ;" started 
up, seized the chief amongst them and cast him with 
all his weapons so roughly on the floor, that his bones 
were almost broken. Hjälte sported in the same 
manner with another Berserk, and a great noise and 
disorder arose in the hall in consequence. King Rolf 
leapt from his throne, and entreated them to be still. 
" First,'* replied Bodwar, *' the Berserk must confess 
that I am a better man than he.*' "That must be 
clear enough to al^ answered the King, so Bodwar 
allowed the Berserk to rise, and the King besought 
them to prove their valour against his enemies, and 
UQt against each other. He reproached the Berserks 
for their arrogance, and told them that no one was so 
strong, but that he might meet a stronger still. A 
perfect reconciliation ensued, and the places were fixe 
as follows. At the King's right hand, and nes 
to him sat Bodwar with Hjälte at his side; on th, 
left, Swipdager sat next the King and his two bro- 
thers, and then the Berserks and the rest of the 


courtiers on both sides; and these places they kept 
the winter through. 

During this time it happened that a very tall and 
mighty Berserk arrived from Blueland, as Africa was 
then called; (and the negroes, Bluemen). He was 
ealled Sot^ and brought with him many ships and a 
body of chosen troops. He went up into the King's 
hall with his men, and asked the King's sister Drifva 
to wife, or else challenged the King to single combat. 
This the King refused, whereupon the giant mounted 
the steps of the throne, and struck at the King; but 
Bodwar parried the blow with his good sword, which 
broke that of the giant in pieces. Bodwar then deft 
his head, and all the bluemen fled affirighted from the 
hall; Bodwar, Hjälte, and the rest hastening after 
them, and hewing down all before them ; and finally 
clearing the ships where they found much gold and 
many treasures. After this stout action, Bodwar ob- 
tained the above mentioned Drifva from Ejng Rolf to 
wife, as they had always loved each other, their future 
life was one of the happiest. 

But when King Rolf with these, his strong warriors, 
went on his Viking expeditions, he never met with 
opposition so stout but that he gained the victory in 
the end. AU gave way before him. The neighbour- 
ing Kings became his vassals ; they feared his wrath 
but not his authority, for he was as mild and ge- 
nerous to his friends, as severe and terrible to his 
enemies ; and a great fame of him spread throughout 
the North. 




It happened once, that as King Rolf and Bodwar 
were conversing, Rolf asked if Bodwar knew any King 
who could be compared with him. Bodwar replied: 
^' That he did not; but said one thing was wanting to 
Rolfs glory and that was that he should obtain his 
inheritance which King Adil unjustly retained/* King 
Rolf replied^ '^That this would be hard' for' him to do ; 
Adil being so powerful, and so well-versed in necro- 
mancy.*' ^Nevertheless,** said Bodwar, "does it not 
beseem you to venture to claim '^hat is your own ?'^ 
^^ In that thou speakest aright,'* said the King ; " and 
besides the duty of revenging our father. King Helge's 
death lies on us, and that duty we shall now fulfil/* 

King Rolf then prepared himself with his twelve 
warriors, and a hundred choice men besides, the best 
of his court, and set out on the way to Sweden. One 
evening they came to a little farm where one peasant 
lived alone, who came out, and courteously invited 
them to lodge with him. King Rolf answered, "That 
he probably had not room and food for them all;** but 
the peasant smiled, and answered, "That he had some- 
times seen many more people come to his village, and 
they should want for nothing.** The peasant's name 
was Hrane, and he was so wise that he could answer 
every question they put to him ; and in addition he 
gave them better entertainment than they had ever mr*- 
with before. But in the night they were awoken b 
such severe cold, that the teeth were chattering in the 
heads, and King Rolf with his twelve warriors alon 
could endure it 3 all the rest went about looking for moi 


clothes with which to cover themselves. In the morning 
the peasant asked how he had slept; and the King and 
Bodwar answered^ ^^Well.^* "I know/^ said Hrane, 
*^that your people foand it rather cool in my cottage 
to-night; bat greater difficulties are awaiting them at 
King Adil's court, and it would be better that you sent 
home the half of these weaker men, for there is no 
chance of your 'prevailing over King Adil by numbers.^^ 
The King ajq>roved the peasant's advice^ and therefcnre 
sending home the half oi his people^ continued his 
journey. When they had ridden die whole day, they 
came in the evening again, as it seemed, to the same 
farm, and the same peasant received them in the same 
style as before. They certainly thought that this 
looked stnlnge ; but passed the night with him not- 
withstanding. Hiis night tiiey were tormented by 
burning thuist; and as the King at the peasant's re* 
quest, stopped a day longer to rest his horses, they were 
in die evening taried by very strong timber fires in the 
room, so that it became insupportably hot. As none 
but the King and his twelve champions could with- 
stand these two furäier trials, the peasant Hrane ad- 
vised Rolf to send back the rest of the people also 
to Denmstrk, aiid only take the warriors on the journey 
to Upsala with him. The King this second time fol- 
lowed the advice of his host, took a friendly leave of 
him, and rode with his chosen men further North into 
the Kingdom of Sweden. 




When they now approached King Adil's castle^ all 
the inmates ascended to the towers to view the proud 
approach of the knights. These rode very slowly at 
first, but when they drew near the castle, they set 
spurs to their horses and started off towards the hall 
four abreast, so that every one was obliged to make 
way for them. They were then well received; but 
Bodwar called aloud to those who took their horses to 
t^nd them well, and take care that their manes and 
tails were neither dirtied nor allowed to get into dis- 
order. When this was related to Adil, he said : ^^ These 
men are very proud and high-spoken. Therefore take 
all their horses, cut off their tails, and the tufts on 
their foreheads with the skin. Let none be excepted, 
and soil their coats in the most ignominious manner/' 
And this order was exactly executed. 

Meanwhile the knights came to the hall-door, when 
Swipdager said : ^^ I greatly suspect that treachery is at 
work against us here, therefore let me, who know 
everything here, advance first : neither let it be perceived 
which of us is Kii^ Rolf.^ And so they did ; Swip- 
dager going first; his brothers after him, then King 
Rolf, with Bodwar and the rest behind him. Swipdager 
then remarked that a number of traps with springs, and 
such like were set all along the hall ; but he avoided 
them all, and they advanced until they saw King Adil. 
proud and vain-glorious, sitting on his throne. As soo 
as they had approached within speaking distance, Ad 
saluted Swipdager whom he recognized. Swipdagf 
answered aloud, so that all could hear it, and askc 


peace and security for himself and these twelve men^ 
according to a promise which King Adil had formerly 
made. To this Adil agreed, and invited them to 
advance without fear into the hall; but they walked 
carefully, notwithstanding, being on their guard against 
treachery. When King Adil saw that they were not to 
be caught in this manner, he made a sign, at which a 
body of armed men rushed from under the hangings 
and attacked the strangers. These made a valiant 
resistance, clefb the traitors down to the teeth, and 
remained unharmed themselves. Adil sat swelling 
with rage upon his throne, looking at his men fiedling 
like dogs before him ; nevertheless, when he saw that 
this trick had no success, he called to his men, and 
asked how they ventured to attack such heroes who 
had come there on a visit. He now commanded them 
to stop, that he might converse with his step- son Rolf. 
The courtiers made room, and the rest seated them- 
selves; Swipdager first, then Hjälte, then Bodwar, 
next to him the King and the rest, keeping dieir 
weapons on. 

Adil now desired the dead bodies to be carried out, 
and then commanded great fires of large timber to be 
lighted all along the floor of the hall, saying he intended 
by this to honour his guests ; but he gave secret orders 
to his servants to make the fires insuppottably strong, 
intending by this means to discover the King, for the 
others he thought would surely seek to protect him. 
They all remained sitting, however, without betraying 
Rolf in any manner ; but when the fire came too near, 
Swipdager, Bodwar and Hjälte leapt up, and threw 
King AdiUs servants into the fire, saying they would 
increase the warmth for King Adil. King Rolf had 
before made a vow never to fly from either fire or 


sword ; . but when his doUies began to bani> and he 
remarked moreover how Adil and his people removed 
towards the hallHloor, intending to leave him and the 
others to be burnt, he exclaimed ; ^' He is not afraid 
of fire who leaps over it V with which words he leapt 
over the raging fires^ and was followed by the rest of 
his men. They now sought for King Adil to pay him 
back for his good entertainment; but he disappeared 
in a hollow pillar> and was lost in a secret underground 
path. When they could not find, him, they broke out 
of the burning hall, and were but little pleased with 
Adil's entertainment. 

When they had escaped, Queen Trsa met them, and 
there was great joy between her and her son King Rolf. 
She led diem to another lodging, where she had 
arranged everything in the best manner, as well as 
appointed a man named Woggur to wait upon them. 
When he came before the King, he said : ^^ This is a 
strange man, with a &ce as long and as dry as a Krake 
stick ;* can he be your King ^^ The King answered, 
*^ As you have given me a surname, what do you give 
me as a confirmation of the same ?" ^^ Nothing have I 
who am but a poor man,^' answered Woj^ur, <^that I 
can give you.^' " Then,^^ said the King, *^ who can 
give, ought to give,*' whereupon he gave a gold ring to 
the man. 

As Woggur rejoaced greatly at this, the King said, 
^^ Woggur is pleased with little 5'^ but the latter set up 
his one foot on the bench and said : <' This promise I 
here make. King, to revenge thy death if I am thei 
alive/^ ^^ Thanks/' said the King; ^^but others doubtlesf 
will wanting more fit for the purpose than you. 

• Krake, a dry, rough, ugly fallen and half-rotten trunk oi 
a tree.— Author. 


However they soon found that Woggnr was faithful to 
them^ and warned them against King Adil's treachery. 
After which they all laid themselves down to sleep. 

But when they had rested awhile, they began to 
perceive imfair play, for Adil with a great army had 
surrounded the house, and good counsel was considered 
of moment, that they might not be burnt to death* 
Bodwar proposed that they should all collect in one 
comer of the hall, and press with all their might against 
the beams of the walls ; and such stout men were they, 
that the beams burst before their strength, and they 
escaped out of the flames. They then discovered every 
street and lane full of armed men who sought to lay 
hands on them; but it was impossible to resist the good 
weapons and stout blows of these warriors. They cut 
down the people before them like rotten straw, and all 
made way, or begged quarter. 

Now Queen Yrsa advanced to meet King Rolf with a 
friendly salutation, saying that he had not been enter- 
tained as she could have wished. She begged him to 
stay no longer in Upsala, as King Adil was collecting 
great forces all over the kingdom. Before he set out 
she delivered to him, instead of his paternal inheritance, 
a large silver horn, in which all King Adil^s precious 
rings and jewels were collected, the most remarkable of 
which, was a ring called Swiagris, the greatest treasure 
King Adil possessed. After this she had twelve red 
horses led out for the knights, and a white one for Rolf. 
These were the best of King Adil's stud, and they 
received them instead of their own which had been so 
ill-treated. King Rolf then took leave of his mother, 
gifted Woggur richly for his faithful service, and 
mounting his horse, rode with his warriors out of the 



KINO Rolf's bbtubn homb. 

Beyond Upsala extends a vast plain called Fyriswall, 
so called from the Fyris which flows through it. Eang 
Rolf and his company rode forth on this plain^ but had 
not proceeded far, when they heard the sound of horns 
behind them. When they turned round they perceived 
a countless multitude of fighting men rushing out of 
the town in pursuit of them. When they began to 
draw near, King Rolf drew out the silver horn which 
he had received from Yrsa, and scattered the gold 
before them, so that the whole road glittered with it. 
So soon as the foremost of King Adil's people per- 
ceived all this gold, they hurried off their horses, and 
forgetting to pursue King Rolf, began each gathering to 
himself as much as he could manage. But when Adil 
saw this, he was highly indignant with his people, 
desired them to let the gold lie, and pursue the 
fugitives. He now rode foremost of his whole troop, 
and being very wrath, soon reached King Rolf. When 
the latter perceived King Adil at his side, he cast the 
precious ring Swiagris out on the road, which when 
Adil saw, he said : " Kinder has been to him than to 
me, she who gave King Rolf this ring," then bowed 
himself, and stretched forth the shaft of his lance at 
the same time towards the ground to recover the ring. 
Then said King Rolf: "Now I have made the richest 
man in Sweden bow his back ;" and in the meanwhile 
he struck a blow at King Adil while he was thus 
stooping, and gave him an ignominious wound behind, 
saying: "Keep this shame scar for a time; and may 
you learn to know King Rolf whom you have so sought 


for/^ The blood began to flow so copiously from Adil's 
wound that he was obliged to be led back by his men ; 
but King Rolf again took up the ring Swiagris, where- 
upon he and his warriors faced about, and hewed down 
the nearest of the Swedes, so that the rest returned 
with King Adil to the town, and King Rolf and his 
men were free to pursue their way forward in peace. 

They now came again to the farm of the peasant 
Hrane, who entertained them well as he had done 
before, and thought tttat his prophecy of their journey 
had been frdfilled^ which they were also obliged to 
confess. Hrane prilduced some costly arms, sword, 
shield and coat of nlaU which he wished to present to 
the King; but he would in no wise accept them, 
thinking it not flt to beg armour from a peasant. At 
this Hrane was greatly angered, saying : " Thou art 
not always as wise and as prudent as thou thinkest 
thyself to be ;^' and the peasant was now so wroth, he 
would afford them no night^s lodging, but they were 
obliged to ride on, though night had already closed in. 
When they had come to a little distance, Bodwar 
stopped and said : ^^ Fools find good counsel too late. 
Methinks we have unwisely refused that which would 
have served us for future victory and success, for this 
peasant must certainly have been the ancient Odin, and 
was one-eyed as he.*' They therefore hastily turned 
about their horses' heads, but could find neither the 
peasant nor the farm again, but were obliged to continue 
their route to Denmark. But Bodwar advised King 
Rolf henceforward to remain quietly in his own king- 
dom and avoid war, for it was probable Odin would 
not in future grant him victory ; neither was it to be 
expected that any one would venture to attack King 
Rolf and his men. And thus they did. The King 

VOL. I. D 


settled himself in peace and quiet, and no one ventured 
to molest him, for after his journey to Upsala his 
bravery became yet more renowned and famed through- 
out all countries, and the praise of himself and his 
warriors was heard in every man's mouth* 



King Rolf had a step-sister, named Skuld, who 
was thought by her mother's side to be of the race of 
the fairies, for she was full of witchcraft and wicked- 
ness. Her husband was Hjordward, a tributary of 
King Rolf; but Skuld was continually urging him to 
throw olBF this subjection, which Hjordward however 
never ventured to undertake. Skuld sent a message to 
her brother King Rolf, requesting him "not to exact the 
tribute from them for three years, for they would after- 
wards pay all at once.'' King Rolf who was very gra- 
cious agreed to this, and with that very money Skuld 
collected a great army, assembling the strongest and 
most venturous, as well as a number of her relations, 
the witches and fairies. All this she prepared so se- 
cretly, that King Rolf and his champions never heard 
the slightest rumour of it, till she, on the third Yule 
Eve, came to Lejre under pretence of paying the tri- 
bute, but having all this troop with her concealed. 

King Rolf had prepared the most magnificent re- 
ception for his sister, and never suspected the least 
treachery, on which account there was much merry 
drinking that night in the hall before they parted. 
But when the night advanced. Hjälte remarked that 
treason was at work, as well as that the whole castle 
was surrounded by Skuld's men at arms ; he therefore 
went into the hall, and shouted aloud, ^* Awake, Sir 



King ! now is the time for fighting instead of caressing 
women. Skuld does not look as if she wanted to in- 
crease your treasures, but rather as if she would take 
the kingdom from you, for she has a countless multi- 
tude without assembled against us/' He then spoke 
to the warriors. *^ Let us now, brethren, perform our 
promise of manfully defending the mightiest King in 
the North j and it shall be written on each leaf, and 
heard in every country, how we return all the liberality, 
hospitality and favour, which we have experienced from 
him. I speak not from doubt, nor from fear, but it 
may be that King Rolf and his men drink now together 
for the last time. Up then, ye warriors all, and arm 
yourselves for fight ?' They then all sprung up, seized 
their weapons, and made ready. But King Rolf said : 
" Bring forth the best liquor we have, for first we shall 
drink and rejoice, and then show what men RolPs war- 
riors are. All that I now desire is, that our bravery 
and our fame may be long remembered.'^ And so they 
did, and when this was related to Queen Skuld without, 
she said : ^^ Unlike all other men is my brother. King 
Rolf, and woe^s me for his sake. But all things must 
have an end." 

Having drunk a few moments together. King Rolf 
leapt up, and hurried out followed by his warriors, and 
the rest of his courtiers, and a close engagement took 
place. King Rolf kept up with his own banner, and so 
did his men, so that all were obliged to give way before 
them. The King swimg his good sword, Skofnung, so 
that it sounded aloud on the helmets of his enemies, 
and at every blow a man was struck to the ground; and 
thus also did all his men. Queen Skuld's people, how- 
ever, suffered the greatest injury from a tremendously 
large bear, which rushed forward in the fight on King 

D 2 


RolPs traces. He scattered all of Sknld's troops 
whether man or horse^ whom he advanced against, 
crushing them with his paws^ or tearing them with his 
teeth, so that he alone overcame more of the Sling's 
enemies, than five of his warriors could; and every blow 
or arrow fell harmless upon him. Thus the battle 
raged awhile to Queen Skuld's discomfiture. 

But Hjälte now looked aroiind, and missing Bodwar, 
exclaimed: ^* Where may Bodwar be hiding, whom 
we have accounted so great a warrior ?'' But Eling 
Rolf answered, " If he is his own master, depend upon 
it he is where his presence serves us best. Therefore 
go thou on with the fight as thou hast commenced, and 
accuse not Bodwar !*' However, not the less did 
Hjälte run home, seeking Bodwar, and found him sit- 
ting alone and inactive in the great hall of the castle. 
Hjälte began to reproach Bodwar in hard and violent 
terms, threatening at last to bum both him and the 
hall, if he would not follow him out to the battle. Then 
Bodwar sighed heavily, raised himself and said : " You 
have no need to threaten me, for I am in no wise 
afraid, and believe that in this thou hast not rendered 
King Rolf the great service thou mayest think, for now 
less than before shall I be able to give him my aid ; but 
now I see that no council can stand against what fate 
determines,'^ and with these words they went out to the 

Just as Bodwar came forth, the great bear disappeared 
from the fight, and the tide turned against King RolTs 
men. Queen Skuld, as long as the bear was in the fid 
had been unable to avail herself of her enchantment 
but she now mounted her witch^chair in a black ten 
and commenced her invocations, after which all sorts i 
strange things appeared in the fight. It is particular! 
related, that a hog appeared of a grey colour like 


wolf, but as big as an ox. Arrows flew out of every 
one of his bristles which struck King Rolfs men to the 
ground, but he could himself be wounded by none. 
The warriors, meanwhile, behaved themselves bravely, 
particularly Bodwar. He brandished his sword with 
both hands, and struck around him till great heaps of 
slain lay on every side. Blood ran down his sword to 
his hands, so that he was red even to the shoulders, 
and seemed beside himself with fury. Nevertheless, 
the Saga relates, that the extraordinary circumstance was 
here remarked, that as soon as her men were hewn down. 
Queen Skuld woke them up again, which made her 
troops hard to fight with. In this manner the battle 
continued till a little after midnight, and then all King 
Rolf's men, except his warriors, had fallen. But even 
these were sorely wounded. Each was parted from the 
other in the crowd and the darkness, and thus King 
Rolf was shut up in a circle of Queen Skuld^s men. 
He fought his way through it is true, but was almost 
exhausted with fatigue. And now it came to pass that 
the warriors themselves began to fall the one after the 
other, scarcely being able to keep their feet for weari- 
ness, nor for loss of blood to defend themselves against 
superior numbers. They had lived with their King, and 
with him they now all died, leaving behind them the 
greatest renown for valour and fidelity. 

Queen Skuld had now gained the victory she desired; 
but her husband King Hjordward had fallen, and few 
remained of all her troops. She took her brother's 
kingdoms, but governed them ill, and only for a short 
time. Elgfrode examined the mark on the, rock every 
morning, and the day he found it full of blood, he 
hastened south to King Tore in Gothaland. They 
equipped an army to avenge their brother's death, and 
for the same purpose they also collected people firom 


Queen Yrsa in Upsala ; and it is said, that the before- 
mentioned Woggur was the leader of these auxiliaries^ 
and thus he kept his promise to King Rolf even though 
it had been contemned. They then united their forces, 
and marched against Skuld, whom they took by surprise^ 
as she had done King Rolf. She was soon taken pri- 
soner and tortured to death with the most dreadful pains, 
which was the reward of her wickedness and fratricide. 
Adil lived yet awhile in Upsala, hated by Queen Trsa, 
and despised by his people for his treachery, and the 
shame King Rolf had put upon him. His death oc- 
curred at last in this manner. While at a great sacrifice^ 
he was riding round the Disar-Hall in Upsala, his horse 
stumbled so that Adil fell and crushed his head against 
a stone ; and both his death and his memory were con- 
sidered very contemptible. 

But the Saga, or story of King Rolf and his warriors, 
has gone from mouth to mouth over the whole of the 
North. The fair maidens drunk to their young heroes 
with King RolTs health, encouraging them thus to 
brave deeds of arms. A great mount was raised to his 
memory, and his good sword, Skofnimg, was preserved 
for very long, as a great treasure in far off Iceland, 
among the proud race who dwelt there. It also was 
/finally lost or destroyed, and its hard steel therefore 
lasted not so long as the remembrance of King Rolf; 
but it has happened as it is to be read in a verse of the 
old Havamal : 

Thy herds die away. 

Thy friends die away. 

And thou diest thyself also. 

But the Fame never 

Shall die of those 

Who have gained a good report. 





KING OOTB's hunt. 

Göte was the name of a King who in remote times 
reigned over West Gothland^ and was said to be a des- 
cendant of Odin himself. At this period, the country 
was thinly peopled^ and the ground was chiefly occupied 
by huge forests which no one could penetrate. It then 
often happened that men who had been outlawed, or 
for some other reason could no longer enjoy life among 
their fellows, removed with all their possessions into 
the heart of such wildernesses, clearing the forest and 
cultivating small farms, where they and their descen- 
dants sometimes lived many consecutive years without 
seeing any other human faces. 

King Göte used often to take the pleasure of hunting, 
which was his greatest delight. It happened once on a 
time, that as he was following a beautiful deer, he was 
so eager in the pursuit that he far outstripped his com- 
pany. The deer ran into the wilderness, the King fol- 
lowing, and thus the day passed. Towards evening he 
had become so deeply entangled in the forest, that he 
could not find his way back again ; his feet were like- 
wise torn by thorns and gravel, as he had thrown off a 
part of his clothes to be lighter in the pursuit. He 
therefore stopped and listened awhile ; he thought he 


heard a dog bark^ and followed the sound expecting to 
find people, in which he was not disappointed, for he 
soon discovered a small house and a serf standing be- 
fore the door with an axe in his hand. When this man 
perceived that the King turned that way, he ran and 
killed the dog, saying : ^^ Thou shalt not again shew 
strangers here, for this tall man will doubtless eat up 
all the meat the master has.'^ The King from this 
thought that he had no great hospitality to expect. 
The serf tried to hinder the King from entering, but was 
made to feel his strength^ for the King pulled him out 
of the doorway and entered. There then sate the 
master himself^ who for his extreme miserliness was 
called Skapnartunger, and his wife with three sons and 
three daughters. No one bade the King welcome^ or 
even saluted him; he advanced unbidden and seated 
himself, but not a word was spoken. When the even- 
ing meal was carried in, none bade the King eat; but 
he boldly stepped up to the table, and began to ap- 
pease his great hunger. When the peasant remarked 
bow much the King consumed, he ceased eating him- 
self and pressed his hat over his eyes, for he could not 
endure to behold the great waste of food which the 
King caused him. The King rested there over the 
night, but in the morning when he was to return 
home, asked the peasant for a pair of shoes, which 
Skapnartunger gave him, though unwillingly, first 
drawing out the shoe-ties that he might not give away 
too much. The King then set out, seeking his way 
homewards, and at last rejoined his people. 

But Skapnartunger thought that his life was good 
for nothing after the great loss King Göte had caused 
him, and determined with his wife and his slave to 
ascend their Åttestupa (see Book i. Chap, iii.) and 
so go to Odin. Close by this farm there was a very 


high perpendicular rock, such that it was certain who- 
eyer should cast himself from the top would never reach 
the bottom aUve. Here Skapnartunger's ancestors 
had always put an end to their own lives, as soon as 
they became very old, that their children might be 
saved from maintaining them, and they themselves 
come to Odin and be freed from the pains and suffer- 
ings which accompany old age and a straw-death* 
Skapnartunger therefore with his family ascended the 
Åttestupa, and having exhorted his children to economy 
and bid them farewell, he threw his wife, his servant, 
and himself down from the rock, and tlius boldly and 
joyfully they went to Odin. Their children resembled 
them. As soon as they suffered the least loss, they 
became discomfited and weary of life, which they 
brought to a term at their Åttestupa. Thus they all 
died with the exception of one, called Snotra. She was 
both more beautiful and more courteous than the 
others ; and when they had all destroyed themselves, 
she wandered out of this wilderness, and sought out 
King Göte, with whom she ever after remained, and 
became the mother of a boy, called Götrik, who grew 
up very fast, and became both stQUt and strong. 



There is nothing more to say of King Göte, of 
whom tradition only further relates, that when he died, 

his son Götrik was unanimously taken as King of West | 

Gothland, and as he was both mild and brave, he became { 

a much honoured and admired leader. He had a Queen, ! 

whom he loved dearly; but she fell very sick^ and j 

D a 


finally she died^ leaving no sons behind her. King 
Götrik was so overcome by grief and distress at her 
I0SS5 that he cared for nothing more^ but sat continually 
on her mound ; and thus several years passed away. 
The kingdom began to feel the want of the King's care, 
and things were going very far wrong, when his friends 
came to him, and prayed him to marry again, sa3nng 
they would prefer being governed by sons of his race. 
Götrik listened to their advice, and finally determined 
to follow it. He therefore prepared himself and eighty 
well-armed men, and rode westward to Tore, a chief in 
Norway whom he had heard had a daughter called 
Ingeborg, both fair and wise, so that one might travel 
far before one could hope to meet her equal. 

When King Götrik arrived, he was well-received ; but 
another lover was there before him, viz. King Olof, 
who was both young, handsome, and courteous in all 
things ; King Götrik on the other hand, was already 
somewhat advanced in years. He notwithstanding 
declared his purpose to Tore, who referred the choice 
and answer entirely to his daughter. All were therefore 
assembled, and the damsel was to give her reply. She 
spoke thus : ^^ I liken these two Kings to two apple 
trees. The one is young, but likely to bear much and 
good fruit, when it comes to age and ripeness — this 
tree is King Olof. The other tree stands already full- 
sized and glorious, with leafy branches and all manner 
of fruit — this tree signifies King Götrik and his king- 
doms, power, great honour and renown. If on account 
of his age he should not live very long, I should think 
that he will leave such sons behind him as one can 
fully depend upon; and I therefore choose to prefer 
King Gotrik's love and favour." 

At these words of the maiden. King Götrik over- 


joyed, sprung up like a youth, took her by the hand, 
and betrothed her with a ring in King OloPs presence. 
He, highly indignant, burst out into threats against 
King Götrik, who paid but slight attention to them, 
and he then hurried away from the place where he had 
met with such an ignominious dismissal. 

After some days. Götrik commenced his homeward 
journey with his betrothed, for he chose that their mar- 
riage should be celebrated in West Gothland. As on 
his way, they were advancing through a forest, the 
before-mentioned King Olof with his men, met them, 
and a sharp combat ensued. Olof called to Götrik to 
give up the maiden and the whole of her dower as a 
Tansom for his life, for "it suited not that such an 
old man should have so young and fair a maid.'' Götrik 
answered : '^ Although you have so many more followers 
than I, you shall perceive that the old man is not 
afraid ;'* whereon he advanced with great courage and 
heavy blows, so that King OloPs men began to fall, 
and he himself at last fell dead to the ground. King 
Götrik then pursued his way homewards, where he 
celebrated a magnificent bridal, and gained much re- 
nown for his valour in this expedition. 



King Götrik and Ingeborg agreed well together, and 
their intercourse was of the kindest. They had two 
sons, very unlike each other. The eldest, Kettil, was 
very little, though strong and supple; but moreover 
rash, forward and talkative. Rolf, the younger, was on 
the contrary tall and strong, and beautiful to look on ; 


in other respects silent and thoughtful in his enter- 
prises, but true to his word and persevering ; and so 
he was much beloved by his parents and all others. 

At this time there reigned a King in Denmark of the 
name of Ring, who from his youth had been a compa- 
nion of King Götrik, between whom and himself the 
greatest friendship as foster-brothers existed. Rolf 
Götriksson was educated at the Court of King Ring 
together with Ingiald, son of the latter, and the boys 
had entered into a contract of foster-brotherhood to- 
gether ; Rolf was however the first in all things, and 
became both much taller and stronger than any other 
man in the North at that time. Kettil grew up at 
home with his father, who however did not love him 
much ; neither was he loved by others on account of 
his pride and obstinacy. When King Götrik was very 
old, he became ill, and thought he understood that this 
would be his death. He therefore called Ingeborg, 
Kettil and his chiefs to his side, thanking them first 
heartily for the help and assistance they had given him, 
and then counselling them, though Kettil was the 
eldest, and had the better right to the throne, to take 
Rolf, as in every way more capable and fit, to be their 
leader. This pleased them well, and gained the assent 
of all, even that of Kettil. King Götrik died shortly 
after, and Rolf was sent for from Denmark, taken for 
King of the whole country, and ruled it with prudence 
and courage. 




At that time a King called Erik reigned in Upsala ; 
some say that he was a tributary in Yngwar Harras^ 
time^ others that he was that King Erik who was son 
of Agne Skeppsbo, and brother and co-regent with 
Ahrik. This same King Erik had no son, but only one 
daughter named Torborg. She was more beautiful and 
wise than most other women. She was clever in all wo- 
man's work, as it was fitting she should be, but still 
more so in what befits a knight, namely in riding, fight- 
ing with sword and shield, and many other exploits of 
that kind which were her chief pleasure and delight. 
King Erik little Uked his daughter having such mascu- 
line tastes, and begged her to sit still in her maiden 
chamber as other Kings' daughters used to do ; but she 
told him, she had good need of these accomplishments, 
for when she should inherit the kingdom from her 
father, it would require her best abihty to defend it 
against foreign enemies. She therefore begged her 
father to give her at that time some province to go- 
vern, that she might accustom herself while he yet 
lived to rule both land and people* King Erik gave 
her in consequence, a third of his kingdom, as well as 
an estate royal called UUeraker in Upland, and also 
many a stout and bold man to be her champions. Tor- 
borg then set out for UUeraker, and held her Court 
there with much might and wisdom ; but she never could 
endure to hear that she was a woman, dressing herself in 
men's clothes, and ordering her men to call her King 
Torborg. Those who came here to court her were 
driven away with laughter and mockery^ or if these did 
not suffice, with lance and spear. 




Rolf Götriksson ruled his kingdom meanwhile 
with much renown ; the summers he passed in arms 
with his adopted brother Ingiald^ gaining fame and 
riches ; and during the winter he sat at home in his 

Once when King Rolf and his brother Kettil were 
speaking together, Kettil said^ that much was wanting 
to Rolfs glory and consideration^ till he had a good 
and courteous Queen. Rolf then asked what project 
Kettil had for him on this score, and Kettil then begged 
him to sue for Torborg, saying it would be the greatest 
marriage in the North to get the Upsala King's daugh* 
ter. But King Rolf expected only a contemptuous 
refusal, and did not think he possessed power sufficient 
to carry through the undertaking by force. He there- 
fore continued his former manner of life some years, 
ever increasing his riches and his renown. Some 
winters after this, Kettil and Rolf again began to talk 
on the same subject, but Eang Rolf refused continually, 
as he had heard meanwhile how Torborg had treated 
her other lovers, putting out the eyes of some, cutting 
off the hands and feet, or in other ways maiming others ; 
so that all had been obliged to withdraw with slighting 
words and contempt. ^^ Many a one has Uttle courage 
in a large body,'" said Kettil, ^' and it is a shame that 
thou who art a man, shouldst not dare to speak with 8 
womankind.*' This angered King Rolf, and he deter- 
mined to set out, but first sent a message to Denmark 
for Ingiald, his foster-brother, who came immediately. 
They then set out together with sixty well-armed men 


on their journey to Upsala^ intending a peaceful begin- 
ning to their undertaking. Kettil was meanwhile 
obliged to sit at home and govern the kingdom^ which 
he did very unwillingly, rather desiring to take part in 
this adyenture. 

One night, Ingerd, King Erik's Queen awoke, and 
related to her husband a wonderful dream she had had. 
She thought that she saw a troop of wolves come run- 
ning from Gothaland towards Sweden, a great lion and 
£^ little bear leading them ; but they were smooth-haired^ 
gentle, and tame. ^^ What thinkest thou, Queen, that 
it means ?^' said the King. ^^The lion,'' said she, 
^* must be the ghost of a King, but the white bear marks 
some King's son, and the wolves their attendants ; and 
I guess that it is King Rolf Götriksson and his foster- 
brother Ingiald of Denmark, and their errand must be 
peaceful since they appeared so tame. Thinkest thou 
not, that King Rolf is come to court our daughter, Tor- 
borg ?" But King Erik would not even hear of such a 
thing, as that the King of so small a kingdom should 
venture to court his daughter. 

Some days after, Erik heard of King Rolfs arrival, 
and sent to invite him to sup with him; but when 
Rolf came, Erik showed him no particular place of 
honour, so that he sat very silent and dissatisfied at the 
feast. Erik asked him finally for what purpose he had 
come north from Gothaland. King Rolf answered this, 
and courteously set forth his errand, but King Erik 
said : " I know the joking ways of the Goths well, and 
how they often say that which has no meaning ; but I 
can guess your errand. I know that Gothaland is little, 
and your revenues small, and that you have many 
people whom you supply in your generosity as long as 
you have anything to give. It is a dear time in Gotha- 


land, and you are in want of food^ which has brought 
you to visit us here^ that you may retain your plump- 
ness, and not be forced to suffer hunger. And it was a 
very good thought of you to seek help with us ; for we 
will permit you with all your men, to go as guests 
round about our kingdom for a whole month ; and then 
I know you will return home unfamished.'^ 

King Rolf did not answer much to this speech ; but 
it was easy for every one to discover how angry he 
became, and thus the Kings parted this evening. In 
the night. King Erik related his conversation to Queen 
Ingerd, who thought it very badly addressed, because 
what Rolf might want in the size of his kingdom, he 
made up for by his bravery; and was, therefore, as 
powerful a King as one who had a wider rule. !Erik 
granted this ; and so it was determined, that the next 
day Erik should recall his words, laying the blame of 
them upon the ale, and so seek a reconciliation with 
Rolf. This was done, and Erik gave his consent to 
the courtship provided only he could win Torborg's 
consent, promising at the same time not to interfere in 
the matters between them. 

Eäng Rolf and his company now proceeded to UUe- 
råker, and arrived when the whole Court was collected 
in the hall. He chose twelve of the stoutest of his 
men, who with Rolf first, and Ingiald next were to 
-enter fully armed with their drawn swords in their 
hands ; but if they were attacked, those who came in 
last were to go out first, and so in succession ; and they 
were not to allow anything to alarm them, but to 
conduct themselves hke men. The rest of the troop 
were meanwhile to hold the horses without. When 
King Rolf thus entered the hall, they all marvelled 
greatly at his great height and noble appearance. Rolf 


saw how on the High-Seat sat a tall man in royal robes, 
being at the same time very beautiful and finely formed ; 
and rightly judging that this was Torborg, he took off 
his helmet, stepped before her, and bowing, commenced 
to deliver his message. However, scarce did she un- 
derstand what Rolfs speech aimed at, than she inter- 
rupted him, saying, he was surely joking; for their 
real errand was to get food, which she would not deny 
them ; but referred them to the chief of the kitchen. 
But when King Rolf still continued his courtship, and 
spoke as she was a woman, of their marriage, she be- 
came so angry and enraged, that she scarcely knew 
what she did. She darted up, seizing her weapons and 
calling on her men to lay hold upon and bind that fool 
who so dared to affront King Torborg; on which 
followed much shouting and confusion in the hall. 
King Rolf put on his helmet^ and ordered his men 
to retire, which they did in spite of the hard attack 
of Torborg's men. King Rolf went backwards through 
the whole hall ; with his shield in one hand, he parried 
all blows, and he swung his sword in the other to such 
purpose that twelve of the courtiers fell before him ere 
he got out of the hall. As he saw however that their 
numbers were too strong for him, he ordered his. men 
to ride out with all haste, and so avoid the pursuers, 
whose horses were at that time not at hand. 

When they returned home to West Gothland, and 
Kettil was informed of the ill-success of their expe- 
dition, he said : ^' It is a great shame to suffer such an 
affront from the hand of a woman, and be driven like a 
horse out of a pasture : and I vote for speedily revenging 
such an insult.^* Rolf said he would not do it yet, 
however much Kettil might urge him. 

But when Torborg was told that it was Ejing Rolf 


of West Gothland who had courted her, she understood 
very well, that he did not intend to let the matter rest 
here, and that she must be prepared for much harder 
attacks from him. She therefore caused a great body 
of men to be collected, and raised a wall or rampart 
round UUeraker, whose match in strength and work- 
'Vianship was not to be found ; for it was very high and 
so strong that battering-rams had no power on it; and 
water-cisterns were besides built into it, which would 
put out the fire if any sought to kindle it. After 
Torborg^ in this fashion, had fortified herself in Ul* 
leråker, she sate herself down, and made herself merry 
with her Court, thinking she had no reason to fear 
being troubled by any more lovers in the whole world. 



The following summer Rolf Gotriksson was on an 
expedition in the West Sea, and met with Asmund, 
the son of the King of Scotland. The battle was 
severe, for Asmund was a perfect warrior ; but in the 
end they made a reconciliation, and entered into foster- 
brotherhood together, and made all their expeditions 
that summer in common, gaining continual victories ; 
in the winter, Asmund accompanied Rolf to West Goth- 
land. The following spring King Rolf armed six ships, 
equipping them with the choicest troops^ and this time 
took both Kettil and Asmund with Ingiald and him- 
self. He then commenced his voyage to Sweden^ no 
stopping before he reached Upsala. 

At this time, Queen Ingerd had another dream; 
precisely like the former^ with only this diffeicence. 


that there were two white bears this time, and a hog which 
was certainly of no great size, but very angry and 
spiteful so that he looked as if he would bite everything 
he could get at, every bristle on his back pointed 
forward, and all the animals this time looked angry 
and irritated. The Queen thought that the vision 
signified King Rolf Götriksson, who was probably 
coming to avenge the affiront which he had suffered ; 
but the angry hog she thought must be Kettil's familiar, 
for it best suited the account she had heard related of 
his disposition. Presently after Rolf arrived with all 
his people and was well-received by King Erik, and 
the former convention was renewed between them, 
viz. : that the two Kings should remain in peace and 
friendship, even ifthe courtship should proceed somewhat 
by storm. After this King Rolf set out for Ulleraker, and 
asked to speak with Torborg, who presented herself on 
the wall with her people. King RoU* then proposed to 
her as conditions, either to accept his proposals, or 
that he would burn up the town and slay every man 
within the walls. ^^ Thou shalt first be a goatherd in 
West Gothland,*^ said Torborg, " before thou shalt get 
any power over us.^^ On this she and all her men struck 
their shields, and would hsten to no more. 

Rolf was therefore forced to attack the town by 
storm, but met with the stoutest resistance. In every 
advance the Goths made they were repulsed by the 
Swedes. These poured boiling water and pitch over 
them, threw beams and stones upon their heads, and a 
fresh supply of troops always manned the walls. When 
fourteen days had passed in this fashion without the 
Goths having made any progress, they began to com- 
plain and rather desired to return home again than 
to. endure the mockings to which they were exposed, 


for the townspeople went out on the ramparts and 
showed them all sorts of costly things, inviting them to 
come and take them, using besides opprobrious terms 
and ridicule more than they could bear. 

All this went to King RolTs heart, and he was 
obliged to seek counsel in his misfortune. He at 
last ordered his men to bind together boards and 
branches of trees interwoven with brushwood so as to 
make a strong roof which he supported by stout beams, 
and advanced the whole under the wall, where he made 
his people expeditiously dig through the rampart. The 
Swedes cast down stones, beams, and boiling-water 
upon them ; but the good roof received it all without 
permitting it to injure them. When the Goths at last 
got into the citadel, they found nobody there, but 
every room was full of delicately prepared viands, and 
all sorts of precious articles. Kettil wanted to stop, 
divide the prey, and commence a merry life ; but Rolf 
forbid this, saying they should first seek out where 
Torborg had hidden herself. As they were now ran- 
sacking every room, they found a secret underground 
passage which they followed, the Eäng leading the way, 
and the rest following in succession. It finally led 
them out into a forest in which they found Torboig 
and all her men, and a sharp battle began between 
them. Torborg fought like the bravest warrior, and 
her men conducted themselves also manfully, though 
the tide was turning against her, because no one could 
resist Rolf and his foster-brothers. 

Rolf now called to Kettil and bade him take Torbor, 
prisoner, but not to wound her, as it would be shame 
ful to use arms against a woman. Kettil was now s* 
near her, that he gave her a blow with the flat of hii 
sword along the thigh, dropping at the same time sona 


rude and contemptuous words ; but Torborg gave him 
with her battle-axe so hard a blow on the ear, that 
Kettil fell with his heels in the air, and she called to 
him, ^ Thus we punish our dogs when they bark too 
loud/^ Kettil leapt to his feet again wanting to re- 
venge himself, but in the same moment Rolf came up, 
grasped Torborg across the arms, and so she was ob- 
%ed to surrender herself to his power ; but Rolf only 
desired that she would permit her father to be judge in 
this matter. She therefore accompanied him back to Up- 
sala, and Isdd down her arms at King Erik's feet, who 
was greatly delighted at this change. Shortly after her 
marriage with King Rolf was celebrated, and held in 
the most honourable manner, so that every man was 
invited to it, and the festivities lasted fourteen days, 
after which they all parted, and every one returned 
home to his own place. King Rolf and Queen Torborg 
lived long and happily together. 

Many narrations are still to be found of the voyages 
and wars which these foster-brothers made together ; 
but these are filled with stories of enchantments and 
untruths like the greater number of histories of that 
time ; and as the most part of these are only fables and 
falsehood, and we elsewhere in this work have given 
some examples of such tales, we do not think it re- 
quisite to repeat more of the same kind, but finish here 
the Saga of Rolf Götriksson. 






The twenty-third King of the Yngling race was called 
Anund. He was much loved^ had many friends^ and 
during his reign there was peace and good harvests 
throughout the kingdom. There was at that time in 
Sweden many uninhabited districts^ several days' jour- 
ney in extent^ and King Anund laid much stress on 
cultivating the good ground which was found in the 
forests. He afterwards caused the superfluous popula- 
tion to remove there, and thus wide districts were 
peopled. He also caused estates to be cultivated for 
himself in every large district in Sweden, and thus in- 
creased the domains of the ancient Kings which was 
known by the name of Upsala-öde. Besides this, he 
caused many roads both over mountains and morasses 
to be made, by which means he visited the different 
parts of his kingdom. As he in this manner cultivated 
and broke up the land, he was sumamed Bröt-Anund, 
that is Anund, the cultivator. 



The Swedes were once .collected in great numbers 
in Upsala to celebrate the great Midwinter sacrifice. 
Ingiald^ King Brot-Anund's son was also there, as well 
as Alf the son of a tributary King ; the boys were both 
about six years old, and then began to play a game, 
each commanding his own troop, and then attacking 
each other; but in this it was seen that Alf was stronger 
than Ingiald, who was so much vexed at it that he 
began to cry. When Ingiald's foster-father heard this, 
he said that it was a great shame for Ingiald. The next 
day he roasted the heart of a wolf which he made 
Ingiald eat, and it is said that he afterwards became 
more cunning and cruel than other men. When King 
Brot-Anund was once travelling between his own es- 
tates, he came to Himmelshed in Nerike, passing 
through a narrow and deep valley with steep and very 
high rocks on both sides, on which much snow wa3 
lying. A violent rain came on, which loosened a part 
of the rock, which with much snow, earth, and stones 
rushed down, so that King Anund and many of his 
people met ^heir death in its fall. 


ingiald's treachery. 

Ingiald now became King in Upsala. The.custom 
in the land at that time was that, at the funeral feast 
of Kings and Jarls, their successors were to sit on a 
foot-stool before the Throne or High Seat. Then the 

72 HisrroRT or Sweden, 

Brage-beaker was carried in^ on wbich the heir stood 
up, made a tow to perforin some great feat of arms, 
and afterwards drained the cup to the bottom, where- 
upon he was first led to the throne and lawfully pro* 
claimed King. When the kingdom of Sweden, after the 
death of Agne Skeppsbo, began to go to two brothers, 
many royal families arose which ruled over tribes and 
in different districts. These Kings of tribes^ though 
they acknowledged the Upsala King as their superior, 
still much diminished his taxes and his power. Ingiald, 
for his father's ftmeral, built a large hall in Upsala with 
seven seats of honour. He afterwards invited all the 
neighbouring minor Kings and Jarls throughout the 
kingdom, and those who came were led into the new 
hall. In the evening, the horn of a great animal like 
the Brage-beaker was borne in ; Ingiald then stood up, 
and made a vow to increase his kingdom by half on 
every side, or to lose his life in the attempt. He after- 
wards emptied the horn. But at night when the guests 
were intoxicated, Ingiald commanded his people who 
were in the old hall to arm themselves and surround 
the new hall, to which they set fire. When the hall 
began to bum, those who were within sought to es- 
cape; but were immediately killed by Ingiald's men. 
In this manner, six of these petty Princes with their 
men were burnt to death. Ingiald subdued their coun- 
tries, and laid them under contribution ; but for this 
treacherous and evil expedient, he was hated by the 
people, and called Ingiald Illrada, or lUrule. 




Gbanmar, the petty King of Soderm'anland, had not 
been at the funeral in Upsala, but rightly judged that 
the same fate was intended for him as the other Kings 
had met with ; and King Ingiald on his side collected 
a great army from all parts of the kingdom, with which 
to attack King Granmar that same autumn. But the 
latter had got help from Högne the petty King of 
£ast Gothland, and was not unprepared. A great battle 
ensued, in which Ingiald had the superior numbers ; 
but after it had lasted awhile, the chiefs and troops of 
those districts which had been gained by treachery 
fled, so that Ingiald was left in his need, and hard 
pushed. He lost his foster-father and two foster- 
brothers ; and sorely wounded himself was obliged to 
fly to his ships. He then saw that he could not trust 
much to the fidelity of his people, and therefore made 
peace and reconciliation with Granmar who attended 
the great summer-sacrifice in Upsala. The following 
autumn, Granmar being at one of his castles on Sel 
Island in Lake Malar, Ingiald stole upon it one night 
with his troops, surrounded the house, and set it on 
fire^ Thus King Granmar, his son-in-law, and many of 
their people were burnt to death, and King Ingiald 
brought Södermanland into subjection to himself. It 
is said that Ingiald, by treacherous means, destroyed 
twelve tributary Kings, and thus became sole ruler in 
all Sweden^ save East Gothland where Hdgne constantly 
defended himself. 

At this time every province had its own law, but 
King Ingiald desired one law for the whole kingdom. 

VOL. I. E 


He therefore sent Wiger Spa or the Wise, Lagman or 
Judge of the Tiunda district in Upland, to collect all 
the separate laws from which to make a general code. 
The collections he thus made were called Wiger's Sec- 
tions, as they were cut on thin sheaves of wood, of 
which one section answered to, and represented a vo- 


nvAB widfamke's oaioiK. 

King Ingiald^s daughter Asa was married to King 
Gudröd. He had a brother, Haldan, who for his 
bravery was called Haldan the Flefet or the Brave. 
Those brothCTS jyere joint Kings in Scane, and des- 
cended from the S^ldungar dynasty. Haldan*^ son 
was called Iwar, and was considered stupid and useless 
in his youth; but when one of the men once gave him 
a box on the ear, Iwar immediately killed him with a 
stick he had in his hand, and afterwards became a great 
warrior. At that time^ there was a Princess called 
Gyrita, in Jutland, renowned both for her beauty and 
riches. She alone survived of the royal race in that 
country, and thought she could never get a husband of 
equal birth, for which reason she kept twelve warriors 
to watch her bower, and drive all lovers away. These 
twelve were brothers of him whom Iwar killed in his 
youth. Iwar went there and arrived at the maiden^s 
tower during the absence of her champions. He cour^*^ 
the Princess; but she refused him, upbraiding him ¥ 
his low birth, and his face disfigured by scars. But I 
answered that he woidd make up for these two defc 
by deeds of valour, and implored Gyrita not to ma 


before he returned, or was dead. On his way thence, 
Iwar soon heard the noise of Gyrita's champions, who 
on their return rode after him, to revenge their brother^s 
death. Iwar begged his followers to hide themselves ; 
but when they refused it unless he would do the same^ 
he forced them, saying, that ** Gyrita should never hear 
that he through fear had avoided a combat.^^ He then 
hewed a great oaken club, with which he dealt such 
heavy blows to the advancing warriors, that he finally 
felled the whole twelve to the ground. As a reward 
for this brave action, he got the good sword Ljusinge 
from his mother, which she had hidden in the ground 
ever since her father's death. 

After this, Iwar set out to assist the Russians in a 
war against King Ingiald in Sweden. There was a 
famous warrior named Hildiger in the Swedish army, 
who had called out and slain many of the best Russian 
warriors, and him Iwar challenged immediately to single 
fight ; but he refused, saying, that Iwar was too inexpe- 
rienced and insignificant a man to fight against, and 
advised him instead to address himself to others less 
renovmed. Then Iwar called out another whom he 
immediately vanquished; the next day, two at one 
time, the following day three, and so on, till he at last 
killed eleven at a time. Now he was greatly renowned, 
so that the Swedes themselves recognised his bravery, 
saying that Hildiger had not ventured to go against 
Iwar through cowardice. This was too much for 
Hildiger, who then accepted Iwar's challenge. It was 
commonly reported amongst the people, that Hildiger 
by songs and enchantments had the power of blunting 
his enemies' swords, therefore Iwar bound a piece of 
cloth round his sword Ljusinge, and thus believing he 
had found a counter-charm advanced against Hildiger« 


It was not long before Hildiger felt himself wounded to 
death. He then threw away his arms, and related that 
he was Iwar^s half-brother, which was the reason he 
had refused to fight with him. He had passed all bis 
life in arms, and now left his shield to Iwar, on which 
all his (Hildiger's) exploits were engraved; amongst 
others was to be seen in the centre how he had mur- 
dered his own son. " But," said Hildiger, *' nothing 
can alter the determinations of fate, whether for joy or 
sorrow," upon which he died. 

When the report spread in Denmark that Iwar had 
fallen in the combat with Hildiger, Sivard, a great man 
from Saxony proposed for Gyrita, and as her counsel- 
lors were bribed, they persuaded her to marry Sivard. 
This was told to Iwar in Russia, who therefore set out 
with despatch for Denmark, and arrived on the very 
bridal day. He ordered his men to hide themselres 
outside, and not to enter the hall till they heard the 
clash of arms. He then presented himself in disguise 
before the bride, reproaching her in mysterious terms 
and verses for her breach of faith. She understood 
who he was, and answered in the same manner, that she 
had believed him dead, and had not been able to with- 
stand her counsellors, but that she had always loved 
him most. When he heard this, he pierced Sivard 
through with his sword, and with the assistance of his 
men cut down all the Saxons. After this he married 
Qyrita, and ruled her kingdoms. 




Asa, King Gudrod's Queen, was like her father in 
temper and disposition. She first persuaded Gudröd 
to murder his brother Halfdan Snälle, and then she 
made away with Gudröd 'himself, ihat she might re- 
main alone. But fearing revenge, she was obliged to 
flee back to her father, and for this ill-deed received 
the same surname as himself; being called Åsa Illråda. 
When Iwar heard of his father's death, he collected a 
great army, and past from Scane up through Sweden, 
to seek revenge on Åsa an d Ingiald . These were at the 
royal estate Ränninge on Fögd Island in the Lake 
Malar, when they heard of Iwar's expedition. Ingiald 
soon perceived that he had no forces to bring against 
him, for the people were untrue to his interests, neither 
had he any place of refuge where he might be free from 
the fear of being attacked by any of his numerous ene- 
mies. He and his daughter, therefore, in their despe- 
ration took the determination, that when they had in- 
toxicated their whole court, they should fire the castle, 
and destroy all in it, themselves included, at the same 
time. This happened about 600 years after Christ. 
Such was the end of King Ingiald Illråda, who was 
the last King of the Ynglinga dynasty in Sweden. 
His son Olof fled to Wermeland, and laying open the 
forests was called Trätelja or Woodcutter. His des- 
cendants were Kings in Norway, and many mighty 
families, and memorable men trace their descents from 






IwAR now became King in Upsala, and founder of 
a new dynasty called the Iwarska. In the first year of 
their marriage, Gyrita gave him no children ; but he 
went to Upsala and received from the Gods the answer 
that when he had appeased the ghost of his murdered 
brother, his desire should be granted. The oracle 
proved true, and Gyrita bore him a daughter called 
Oda, or the Rich. King Iwar ruled with a strong hand, 
and entirely subdued the minor Kings who had escaped 
King Ingiald. He reigned alone over all Sweden ; he 
had acquired Jutland with his Queen ; conquered a part 
of Saxony by the sword, the whole of the Prussian 
coast on the Baltic, and a fifth part of England. On 
account of this extensive rule, and of his many war-like 
expeditions, he was called Iwar Widfamne, or the 
Wide-embracing, and was much feared. 



At this time two brothers of the Sköldungar 
reigned together in Lejre in Zealand. The name oi 
eldest was Helge. He passed every summer in exp 


tions on sea, gaming by that means much riches ana 
honour, and on account of his great bravery was called 
Helge den Hwasse, the AUe. The other was named 
Rörek, with the surname Slungering. He remained 
chiefly at home governing the country, and was in every 
respect considered less of a man than his brother. Iwar 
was desirous of acquiring their country in addition to 
his own, as it lay conveniently in the midst of his other 
kingdoms. When his daughter öda was grown up, 
she was much famed for her beauty and great under- 
standing; and besides being Iwur's only child was 
accounted the heiress of all his kingdoms, and was 
therefore called ** öda den djup Oda,'^ or the Very Rich. 
Helge Hwasse set out to pay his court to öda, who 
loved him greatly, and Iwar also treated him with 
friendliness, though in a private conference with his 
daughter, he forbade her to marry Helge. He after- 
wards told him, that öda through pride refused his 
hand in opposition to his (I war's) earnest entreaties. 
On which Helge returned home. 

Shortly after Rorek's men besought their King to 
make a marriage, and proposed öda. Rörek hesitated, 
but his friends urging him, he spoke to Helge about it, 
and begged him to set out and make the overtures for 
him. Helge answered that the proposal was a good 
one, and he a happy man who would gain öda ; but 
that he feared the same conclusion as last time ; how- 
ever for his brother's sake he would try. He then set 
out and made his proposals to Iwar, who received him 
well, but said "That when öda had rejected Helge, it 
was unadvised of Rorek to ask her, as he was in every 
way Helgens inferior." Helge, however, assured the 
King that Rörek was his equal in every thing, though 
he had not acquired so much fame as a Viking. Iwar 


pretended to be disinclined^ but went to speak with 
Oda^ who replied, ^^That in as far as she might deter- 
mine, Rörek should never have her consent ; but that 
she saw this time as on a former occasion, her will was 
nothing when the King had determined otherwise.^ 
^'111 pleaseth me thy proud answer,'^ said the Kin^ 
^^ and I see thou art no longer inclined to stand und^ 
our authority, but King Rörek shall be thy husband 
notwithstanding, even though thou willst it not*^' On 
which he left her, and going to Helge said : ^^ Sorely 
have I been deceived, when till the present hour I con- 
sidered öda as the most sensible of women, for I must 
now confess she is very foolish, otherwise she would 
not have chosen the worser brother before thee, who 
art so excellent a King/' 

Thus it was determined that öda should have Rörek, 
and Helge escorted her down to Denmark to his brother ; 
but when on their road they came to speak concerning 
this marriage, Iwar's treachery was revealed, and they 
understood how he had deceived them both. On their 
arrival in Denmark, a great feast was held for the nup- 
tials of Rörek and öda. That winter Helge abode in 
Denmark ; but afterwards set out on his Viking expe- 
ditions as his custom was. öda bore Rörek a son who 
was called Harald ; he was tall and strong, and of a 
fine exterior, but his front teeth were very projecting, 
shining and coloured like gold, whence he was called 
Harald Hildetand; that is, of the shining teeth. 




One summer Iwar laid to with his ships on the 
coast of Zealand and sent to request Rörek to join him 
on his fleet, öda asked Rörek to defer this till the 
next day^ and placed for him a single bed in the middle 
of the room, and making it up with new bedding, begged 
him not to forget what he dreamt in it during the night. 
Rörek did as she desired, and the next morning related 
his dream to her in the following manner : " I saw a 
stag grazing on a fair plain. On which a leopard whose 
skin was like burnished gold sprung out of the wood 
upon him; but the stag ran his horns through the 
leopard under the forequarters^ so that he fell dead to 
the ground. After this a great dragon came flying, and 
fastening his claws in the stag tore him to pieces. After 
this I saw a she-bear, followed by her young ones, and 
the dragon followed them both; but the she-bear de- 
fended them.^' And here Rörek^s dream had ended. 

Then spoke öda : ** A memorable dream is this, for 
thou hast seen the forms of King's game, and that sig- 
nifies great Eangs. Perhaps it may also portend a 
great war, nevertheless I desire thee not too much to 
hunt that deer. It also appears to me that thou art 
thyself signified by it. But one thing I counsel, and- 
that is that thou guard thee from my father. King Iwar^ 
that he deceive thee not.*' After this Rörek set out 
for the coast, and ascended the vessel before the cabin, 
saluting Bang Iwar, who however appeared neither to 
hear or to see, and gave no answer. Rörek now sought 
to conciliate his father-in-law, and said he had prepared 
a great feast to which he in his own, and in oda's name 

E 3 


intended to invite King Iwar ; but he was answered : 
'^ In a fatal hour I gave Oda to thee^ and it is no wonder 
she is unfaithful to thee/' Rörek said, '^ That he and 
Oda agreed well together, and that he hoped Iwar would 
never need to regret his consent.'^ Then Iwar answered 
in wrath : ^^ Thou seemest not to know how Oda and 
Helge associate; but it is in every man's mouth that 
Harald is Helge's son, whom he is very like, and I 
would prefer that thou shouldst give her up to Helge, 
than through cowardice leave this longer unavenged.^ 
Rörek said, '^ He had never heard this, and b^ged Iwar 
for good counsel; but that he would not relinquish 
Oda/' Iwar then said, ''That he should either kiU 
Helge, for till then there would never be peace between 
the married pair, or else resign Oda to him/' Rörek 
vowed that he never would resign Oda, but would 
rather revenge himself; on which he rode away with his 
men, and Iwar also immediately set sail and lefib the 


hblob's death. 

In the autumn when Helge returned home from sea^ 
Rörek was very silent and black. Oda caused a great feast 
to be prepared for Helge, at which many games would 
be celebrated. It pleased Helge ill that Rörek was so 
melancholy, and he urged him therefore to take part in 
the sport, but Rörek said he had no inclination fo** ^^ 
at that time. Helge urged him still, and proposed f 
he should ride a tilt with him as they were Wi 
Rörek then leapt up without speaking a word, went 
his men, and had himself armed with helmet, bre^ 


plate, sword and spear, and so rode ont into the tilting 
ground. Helge came on the ground unarmed, with 
. only a tilting staff in his hand ; Rörek then setting his 
lance in rest, run it right through his brother, who fell 
<lead from his horse. The men rode up in alarm, and 
asked for what reason he had done this evil deed? 
Rörek answered, " He had good reason, for he had 
heard that Helge had seduced his wife.*' Then they 
all exclaimed that it was a vile lie, and that Rörek was 
sorely deceived. But when Oda heard what had 
passed, she thought it was her father's counsel, and 
that it was likely he would not stop there, so taking 
her son with her, she rode away with a great company; 
but Rörek travelled round the country as was his wont. 
Shortly after Rörek heard that Iwar had returned, 
and therefore rode to meet him ; but when Iwar heard 
of Helgens fall, he pronounced it a cowardly deed, and 
desired his men to arm to revenge his friend Helgens 
death, for which purpose he hid a part of his force in a 
forest at a little distance from the shore where he 
thought Rörek would pass. When Rörek did come up, 
he found Iwar with his people in order of battle before 
him ; and when the ambuscade heard Iwar's war horns, 
they rushed forward attacking Rörek from behind* The 
battle was not long. Rörek fell with all his men ; then 
Iwar issued an order that the whole kingdom should 
submit to his power ; but in some days öda came down 
through the country with a large assembled army, which 
Iwar not considering himself strong enough to resist, 
returned to Sweden for this time. The same winter 
Oda collected all her treasures, and the following 
spring she and many of her principal men fled to King 
Radbjart in Gardarike, or Russia, and craved protec- 
tion for herself and her son, against Iwar's great 


might But King Iwar subdued the whole countiy 
which the brothers Helge and Rörek had possessed, 
and had now mastered many lands. 



Some time after King Radbjart demanded Oda in 
marriage^ and as he was a rich King, from whom both 
she and her son could have comfort and support, she 
married him^ consulting her son alone in the matter 
and not her father. When Iwar heard this, he resolved 
to punish the man who had ventured to marry Oda 
without his permission, and therefore gathered an army, 
out of his different countries, so great that none could 
count his ships, and steered eastward with it, intending 
to plunder and bum Eang Radbjart's whole kingdom. 
When he had reached the Gulf of Finland where Radb- 
jart's dominion commenced, he intended to go on 
shore and begin plundering. One night he saw in a 
dream, a huge dragon fly eastwards over the sea; his 
colour was like gold, and sparks flew out of him as 
from a furnace, so that the light of them shone on the 
sky above and the earth beneath. With him flew all 
the birds in the North, following where he led 5 but on 
the land there arose a thick cloud with sharp winds, 
lightnings, sleet, and beating rains. As soon as the 
dragon flew to the land, both he and the birds that 
were with him were caught in the storm, and swallowed 
up in so thick a darkness that they could no longer I 
seen ; and at the same time a sounding noise was hear^ 
westward, over all the lands which Iwar ruled. C 
this he awoke. 


King Iwar at this time was very old and enfeebled, 
and on waking he caused Horder, his foster-father to 
be called to him, that he might interpret the dream. 
Horder retiimed for answer that he was now so old, 
that he could no longer interpret dreams ; he stood on 
a crag by the shore, but Iwar lay on the deck of the 
Admiral galley in his tent, and had drawn the covering 
aside, as they were speaking together. The King was 
anxious, and said : ^' Come here. Horder, and interpret 
the vision/' " I go not there,'' said Horder ; " neither 
is it needful that I should explain thy dream, for thou 
knowest well enough thyself what it signifies. Thou 
thoughtest to bow all kingdoms under thee, and didst 
not reflect that thou must once die. Now shalt thou 
speedily depart for Hel's* dwellings, and none of thine 
shall rule thy kingdoms after thee.'* " Come here !" 
called Iwar, *^ and tell me thy evil predictions !" "Nol" 
exclaimed Horder, '^here will I stand and answer 
thee." Then asked Iwar : " How is my father Half- 
dan Snälle considered amongst the Asar in Walhalla ?" 
Horder answered : ^^ He was like Balder whose death 
all the Gods did weep, and is very unlike thee." **Thou 
speakest well," said Iwar, ''come here and tell thy 
story." ** Here will I stand and speak," said Horder. 
I was then further inquired : *^ How is Rörek among 
the Asar ?" Horder answered : " He was like Häner, 
the most timid among the Asar, but greedy for revenge 
on thee." " How is Helge Hwasse ?" continued Iwar. 
"He is," answered Horder, 'Mike Heimdaller, the 
most injudicious among the Asar; but against thee 
very wrath." "How am I then myself considered 
among the Asar?" asked Iwar finally. "Thou art 
most hateful to them," answered Horder; "and art 

* Hel, the Goddess of the dead. 


called the Midgård serpent/^ "Then," said the King in 
wrathful mood, " if thou bodest my death, I bode thy 
death in return ; I know thee well, thou grim sorcerer ! 
come now and fight with the Midgård serpent ?^ Here 
the King became so excited and wrath, that he rushed 
out of his tent over the gunwale of his ship into the 
sea. Horder also leapt from the cliff into the water, 
and neither of them ever rose again. After this the 
chiefs sounded the horns to summon a council, and 
when the people were collected on shore, King Iwar's 
death was announced to them, and a consultation held 
what should be done with the army. As they had now 
no cause of enmity against King Radbjart, it was 
determined to give the troops their dismissal ; and as 
soon as they got favourable wind every one sailed back 
to his own country again. 



When Radbjart heard this news, he gave ships and 
men to his step-son Harald, who sailed with them to 
Zealand. There he was immediately acknowledged 
King, and took possession of all the kingdoms which 
his mother's father had possessed in Sweden and 
Denmark. Harald was but fifteen years old when he 
became King, and on this account many chiefs believed 
they would be able to regain the kingdoms which In- 
giald lUrada, and Iwar Widfamne had usurped, and 
caused much war and many tumults in the commence- 
ment of his reign. But he conquered all, and had 
such fortune, that he used neither shield nor armour in 
battle ] wherefore the people believed that on account 


of the many rebellions in his youth, his friends had 
made some great sacrifice, and procured enchantments 
which preserved Harald from being wounded by steel. 
Besides it is related that Odin himself had taught 
Harald to divide his army in an advantageous manner, 
namely to divide it into three bodies of which each was 
pointed in front and broader behind, so that in the 
first row one man stood alone, in the second two, in 
the third three, and so on. Such an order of battle 
was called Swinfylking, since each body was pointed 
infront like a swine^s snout. In gratitude for this instruc- 
tion, Harald is said to have promised Odin all those 
who fell in his battles. For these reasons Harald was 
finally so dreaded, that no one dared to conduct war 
against him, and he sat fifty years in peace in his king- 
dom ; but to prevent his men from becoming weak and 
effeminate, he held continual exercise of arms, and he 
who winked at an ax descending close by his brow, 
was immediately dismissed from the court at Lejre and 
forfeited his pay as a coward, and chicken-hearted. 
King Harald was however very mild, and restored 
many districts to the minor Kings whom Ingiald and 
Iwar had driven out. 



Oda had a son by Radbjart, who was called Rand- 
wer. Harald placed him, as a tributary to himself, in 
Upsala over the kingdoms of Sweden and West Goth- 
land, but dwelt himself in Lejre. Randwer died on an 
expedition to England, after which his son Sigurd 
Ring became tributary King in his place. When King 


Harald Hildetand had attained the age of one hundred 
and fifty, being unable to walk, he lay continually in 
bed from weakness, and there was no one to defend his 
country from the many Vikings who began to attack 
and plunder it on every side. This his friends did not 
like, and many thought that the King had lived long 
enough, on which some of the most powerful among 
them took counsel together, and determined when he 
was in his bath to suffocate him by laying wood and 
stones over it. But when Harald discovered their in- 
tention, he begged them to help him up, saying, " I 
know well that you think my old age is a burden on 
you, and it may perhaps be the case ; but I will not die 
in a bathing-tub, but rather as becomes a King.^^ His 
frieiids then advanced and helped him up, after which 
he sent messengers to Sigurd Ring in Upsala, inform- 
ing him that the Danes thought Harald too old, and 
therefore he would wish to die as became a King in 
battle, for which reason he desired Ring to collect as 
great an army as he was able, and with it meet him at 
Braviken in East Gothland, where they would try who 
was the strongest. They then mutually began to arm, 
and some say they took seven years to it. Other his- 
tories however relate, that Brune, one of Harald's 
generals had excited the Kings to this war against each 
other. Ring had his people from Svea, West Gothland, 
Norway, and Helsingland, and amongst them were many 
renowned warriors, particularly Ragwald the Wise in 
Council, and Starkotter, who was considered the 
greatest warrior of that time. Harald*s army v 
from all Denmark, East Gothland and the North 
Germany. The forces were assembled in the öresu? 
and were so great, that one could pass on the fleet 
on a bridge over the sea between Zealand and Scai 


Ubbe from Friesland was the most celebrated in Ha- 
rald^s anny; there were also three Amazons^ Ursina 
who bore Harald's banner, Heidr and Veborg, and 
many other great warriors besides. The armies met 
on Bravalla Heath in East Gothland. Harald sent out 
his general Brune to see how Ring had posted his 
troops, who when he returned related that Ring's 
troops stood in Swinfylking. Harald exclaimed; 
" Who has taught King Ring that ? I thought that 
were known to none save Odin and myself, or perhaps 
Odin may will that I shall now be left without victory 
which I never before have been ? Then would I rather 
fall with my whole army in the battle." He then let 
Brune marshal his troops^ and as he was himself unable 
to walk, he was placed in his chariot. 



When all was ready, the chiefs caused the war 
horns to be sounded ; on which the two armies uttered 
a great shout, and so advanced on one another. A 
sharp and memorable conflict now followed, and the old 
Sagas relate that nowhere in the North have éo many 
chosen and picked men striven together. When the 
battle had raged awhile, Ubbe, the Frieslander, advanced 
in front of King Harald^s troops towards the enemy ; 
in the front of King Ring's tribes, advanced Radwald 
the Wise in Council, and Ubbe turned to confront him. 
Then between these two stout-handed men, a hard 
battle took place, in which many desperate blows were 
dealt and returned ; but it ended by the death of Rad» 
wald. Then Ubbe cut down the champion Tryggve, 
who stood next to Radwald* When Adil's sons from 


Upsala saw tliis^ they turned both upon him ; but such 
a remarkable warrior was he, that he slew them boäi, 
and the third Yngve in addition. When King Kng 
saw this^ he shouted, that it was a shame to let a single 
man so exalt himself over a whole army, and, ^ where 
was Starkotter now, who never feared before to step 
foremost in the strife ?*' Starkotter answered, ** This 
is a hard trial, and victory will be difficult for us now, 
my lord. Notwithstanding I will not fall back/^ Saying 
this he advanced towards Ubbe, and they exchanged 
many mighty blows. Finally Starkotter gave Ubbe a 
very terrible wound, but he had already received six 
himself, so that he thought he had never before been 
in such a terrible strait. Now the troops pressed upon 
them on both sides, and separated these two cham- 
pions. Ubbe cut down another warrior, called Agnar, 
and then seizing his sword with both hands, cut a 
broad path right through Ring's troops, and was now 
bloody up to the shoulders. Behind Ring's army stood 
the inhabitants of the Telemark in Norway, whose chief 
art was using the bow and arrow, which the rest of the 
army holding in small esteem, they had been placed in 
the rear. When they perceived Ubbe advance through 
the army towards them, they said among themselves, 
^ Now is the time for us to show that we are also brave 
men, and not so weak as the others esteem us to be, 
and we shall make this man the aim for our arrows 
awhile." Hadder Horde, and Hroallder amongst them^ 
were such good marksmen that they shot Ubbe through 
with four-and-twenty arrows. But he never lost cou- 
rage, and defended himself valian,tly till he fell down 
dead. He had overthrown six warriors, and sixteen 
other men, besides having grievously wounded eleven 
others of note. 
Yeborg, the Amazon^ nowadvanced against the Swedes 


and slew the champion Sote. After this she met Star- 
kotter, and they fought; but she was so active and 
supple^ that she gave him a blow, which sliced the flesh 
off his dieek and chin. Torkil Djerfwe came up at the 
same moment and hewed her down; but Starkotter put 
his beard in his mouth, and held it with his teeth, thus 
retaining the loose piece of flesh, and he was now very 
wrath. Hq burst suddenly into the Danish force, and 
cut down the warriors Hake, Ella, Borgar, and Hjorter 
one after the other, and then rushed towards Ursina, the 
Amazon, who bore King Harald's banner. She then 
said : ^* Certes, the rage of death has now come upon 
you, and your last hour is surely at hand." '^ First, 
thou shalt drop the King's banner,^' said Starkotter; 
and with these words he cut off her left hand. At the 
same moment. Brae, the warrior, seized it ; but Star- 
kotter cut him down and other two, Grepe the Old, 
and Håte; but he received himself many grievous and 
sore wounds. When Harald saw the great slaughter 
amongst his troops, he threw himself on his knees in 
his chariot, being unable to stand, and took a short 
sword in each hand ; he then caused the chariot to be 
driven into the thickest of the fight, hewing and striking 
on both sides, in this manner killing many, and he was 
considered very manly, and to have done great deeds 
for his great age. Finally his own general, Brune, 
struck him with a club on the helmet, so that his head 
was deft, and he fell dead out of the chariot. When 
King Ring saw the chariot empty, he understood that 
King Harald was slain ; he therefore caused a cessation 
of arms to be blown on the trumpets, and offered the 
Danish army peace and quarter which they accepted* 
The next morning Ring caused the field of battle to be 
carefiilly searched for King Harald's corpse, which was 


not found till the middle of the day^ under a heap c$ 
slain. Ring caused it to be taken up, washed^ and 
honourably treated according to the custom of those 
times, and laid it in Harald's chariot. A great mound 
was then raised, and the horse, which had drawn Harald 
during the battle, was harnessed to the car, and so the 
Toyal corpse was drawn into the mound. There the 
horse was killed, and King Ring caused his own saddle 
to be brought in, and gave it to his friend King Harald, 
praying him to use it in riding to dwell with Odin in 
Walhalla. After this, he caused a great funeral feast 
to be celebrated, and at its conclusion begged all the 
warriors and chief men who were present to honour 
Harald by gifts and ornaments. Many precious things 
were thrown in, large bracelets, and excellent arms, 
after which the mound was carefully closed and pre- 
served. And King Ring remained sole governor over 
the whole kingdoms of Sweden and Norway. 



King Sigurd Ring's Queen was Alfhild, daughter of 
King Gandalf of Alfhem, the old name of Bohuslän. 
She was of a very beautiful appearance, like the whole 
of her race. By her he had a son who was called Ragnar, 
who became very tall and strong like his ancestor Iwar 
Widfamne, but took after his mother in being the most 
beautiful of men. 

At that time there were two very celebrated Eangs 
in Germany, Gunnar and Högne; they were King 
Gjuke's sons, and were therefore called Gjukings. As 
Sigurd Ring was a very mighty King, he thought that 



no one dared resist him^ and therefore sent a message 
to the Gjukings, that they should either pay tribute^ or 
fight against him. They chose the latter alternative, 
and the Ambassadors marked out with hazel branches 
the place of the future combat at Jamamodir in Hols- 
tein. The following summer the troops met there^ and 
the Gjukings had with them their brother-in-law, 
Sigurd who was called Fafnisbane, because he had 
killed the great serpent Fafner. This Sigurd was the 
greatest and chiefest warrior who is mentioned in old 
chronicles, and his like is said never to have been seen. 
King Ring was himself on an expedition against Cour- 
land, therefore the whole Northern army was led by his 
two brothers-in-law Alf and Alfarin. A violent battle 
took place, for these brothers conducted themselves 
very valiantly, and had also a huge man with them, 
more like a giant than a man, who broke in on the 
Gjuking's army and killed the horses and their riders 
around him, so that none could withstand him. King 
Gunnar, the eldest of the Gjukings saw this would not 
do, and begged Sigurd to advance against that man- 
slayer. Sigiird Fafnisbane did so, and asked who he 
was. " I am Starkotter, Storwerk's son of Norway,'* 
answered the great man. ^^ I have heard thee spoken 
of," answered Sigurd, " but generally not to thy advan- 
tage, and therefore thou oughtest not to be spared.'* 
"Who art thouF' retorted Starkotter, ^^who art so 
great in words against me ?" " I am called Sigurd,^* 
answered the other. " Is it thou who art named Faf- 
nisbane V asked Starkotter again. " It is even I/* 
answered Sigurd. Then Starkotter was afraid, and 
hastened away; but Sigurd slung his good sword Gram 
after him, so that the handle struck Starkotter on the 
cheek-bone, and two back-teeth flew out. This was 


considered a yery disgraceful blow for Starkotter; lie 
fled out of the battle, and the whole oi the Northern 
troops with him. The Gjukings went home, and 
were permitted to remain there in peace. It was long 
a tradition afterwards, that these back teeth cmt grinders 
of Starkotter's were so large, that one of them was used 
as the bell-clapper in one of the church steeples of 


SIGURD ring's death. 

King Ring had gone down to Wiken, the golf 
between Sweden and Norway to settle some disputes 
between his tributary Eangs, on which occasion a great 
sacrifice was made, which was numerously attended, 
amongst others by King AlTs daughter from Jutland, 
a Princess who for her great beauty was called Alfsol, 
or Sun. Notwithstanding his great age, Sigurd Ring 
fell in love with her, and asked her to wife, though the 
Gods had pronounced against it at a sacrifice. But 
AlfsoPs brothers, Alf and Inge refused to give '^ so fair 
a maid to such a withered old man.'' Ring was very 
angry that his own subjects had ventured to give him 
such an answer, and therefore denounced war on them, 
after the conclusion of the sacrifice. Alf and Inge were 
brave men, but still they feared Eling Ring's superior 
might and therefore gave Alfsol poison that she might 
not fall into his hands. They then advanced aga i 
the King, but the fortune of the day soon turned aga t 
them. Alf was cut down by Ragnar, who was i f 
with his father, and got in consequence the namt f 
Alfsbane. Inge fell also, and their troops fled. Si~ I 


who had himself been seyerely wounded in the battle, 
ordered Alfsol to be sought for^ and when he only 
found her corpse^ he determined to live no longer. He 
therefore commanded all the dead bodies to be carried 
into a ship, seated himself by the rudder in the stem,* 
and laid Alfsol at his side. He afterwards caused the 
ship to be set on fire with sulphur and pitch, hoisted 
all the sails, and steered with a steady wind out to sea, 
saying, "That he would come with magnificence as 
befitted a mighty King to Odin.^' When he got with- 
out the shores, he ran his sword through his body, and 
so fell dead over the corpse of his beloved Alfsol. The 
ship drove out to sea and perished there, but Ragnar 
caused his men to raise a great mound on the shore. 






ÅT that time lived in East Gothland, a rich and 
mighty Jarl, named Herröd. He was a descendant of 
the Asar, by Odin's son Göte, and was much famed for 
his bravery. He had a daughter called Tora, and it was 
universally said of her that she was as virtuous as she 
was beautiful, and one whom it were better to have, 
than to do without. She received the surname of Bor- 
garhjort, or Castle Deer, because she sat in a high 
room shut up with a wall round it like a castle, and 
because in beauty she surpassed all other women, as 
deer does all other animals. Her father desiring to 
please her in every possible way, gave her a small and 
most beautiful snake which he had received in a charmed 
e^ in Bjarmaland. The snake was at first coiled in 
a little box, but soon began to grow till the box was 
too small for it ; finally it grew so big that the room 
was too small for it, and at last it lay round the outer 
wall, being so large that the head and tail touched. It 
also became so vicious and angry that none dared 
go to the maiden, except the person who fed the sna 
which consumed an ox at a meal. The Jarl thou 
all this was a great annoyance, and at last made a { 
mise to give his daughter with a great dower to t 


man whoever he were, who should kill the snake. 
This promise was spoken of far and wide ; but so great 
was the dread the snake inspired to all, that none 
dared to venture for the high reward. 



Ragnar, Sigurd Ring's son, was grown up by this 

time, and was making expeditions with well-appointed 

men on his ships of war, in which he had already gained 

the reputation of a matchless warrior. He heard Jarl 

Herröd^s promise spoken of, but though he seemed to 

pay no heed to it, caused meanwhile a strange coat to 

be made for himself of hairy skin, and a cloak of the 

same kind. These he had boiled in pitch, drawn 

through sand, and finally hardened in the sun. The 

following summer he laid to with his ships in a hidden 

bay in East Gothland, and at the early dawn next day, 

putting on his strange costume, he went on shore, 

taking the way to the maiden^s bower. There he saw 

the serpent lying coiled up in a ring, struck it with his 

lance, and before it could defend itself, gave it the 

second blow, pressing so powerfully, that the spear 

went right through ; on which the snake struggled so 

hard that the lance broke in the centre^ and though it 

spit out much venom over Ragnar, his stony dress 

preserved him from it. The monster had now received 

its death wound, and made such a noise in its struggles, 

that the whole maiden-bower shook again. The women 

awoke in their garret, and Tora looked out through the 

window to see what was the matter. She saw below 

a very tall man ; but as it was yet but grey dawn, she 

VOL. I. F 


could not clearly distinguish his features. She asked 
therefore who he was^ and what he wanted ? Ragnar 
then answered with this verse : 

" For the fair maid and wise 
I would venture my life. 
The scale-fish got its death-wound 
From a youth of fifteen." 

More than this he did not say, taking the broken 
handle away with him^ but leaving the lance itself in 
the serpent's wound. Tora from this, understood that 
he had announced his errand and his age^ and won- 
dered if he was a man or a wizard^ his size being so 
gigantic, particularly for his years. In the morning 
all this was related to the Jarl, who drew out the lance, 
and found it to be so heavy that few were able to move 
it. He then caused a great muster to be announced 
throughout his whole dominion, thinking that the man 
who had killed the serpent, would certainly as a proof 
bring the broken handle* 

Ragnar in effect, did hear on board his ships that a 
general Ting was to be held in the neighbourhood. He 
therefore went with his men^ and stopped at some little 
distance from the crowd already assembled. The Jarl 
stood up and demanded to speak. He first thanked the 
assembly for their obedience to his summons, and aiiter- 
wards related the whole history of the snake's death, 
begging that he who possessed the proper handle of 
the lance would produce it, promising to keep his pro- 
mise with whoever it might be, high or low. The heai 
was now carried round to every body, but none coul' 
show the handle. It was afterwards brought to Ragna 
who declared it to be his, and showed the other pai 
which fitted in exactly. It was then easy to be seer 


that he was the man who had killed the serpent^ where- 
fore the Jarl made a great feast for him and his men^ 
and when Ragna saw Tora at it^ she appeared to him so 
surpassingly lovely, that he asked her for^ his Queen. 
This was granted^ and the entertainment was changed 
to a magnificent bridal, after which Ragnar conducted 
his bride home to his kingdom, and became very fa- 
mous on account of this expedition^ which gained for 
him the surname of Lodbrok, in reference to his strange 



After this Ragnar set himself to govern his father's 
kingdom. He lived himself in Lejre, and placed Eisten- 
Beli, Harald Hildetand's son as tributary King in 
Upsala over his Swedish dominions, and loved Tora so 
much, that for her sake he remained often at home, not 
going out on Viking expeditions so much as before. 
She presented him with two sons, Erik and Agnar, who 
were both stronger and more beautiful than other men, 
and in addition learnt all manner of feats and exercises. 
It once happened that Tora fell sick, and her illness 
increased so fast, that she died of it. This was a great 
grief to Ragnar, who said he would never marry an- 
other woman. He felt now no more comfort at home, 
but set his sons to rule his kingdoms, and wandered 
about himself on warlike excursions^ to dissipate his 


F 2 




Sigurd Fafnisbane^ in Germany^ was as has be- 
fore been said, one of the greatest heroes of all those 
nations who spoke the Northern language. He had 
by the Amazon Brynhilda, a daughter who was called 
Aslög, and who was brought up by Heimer, Bryn- 
hilda^s foster-father. Sigurd Fafhisbane was betrayed 
by his brothers-in-law, and killed together with all his 
race, and Brynhilda put an end to her own life through 
love to him. Heimer mourned his foster-daughter's 
death so much, that he could no longer remain at home 
or cultivate his fields, and as Aslög was the only sur- 
vivor of Sigurd Fafnisbane's race, he was certain that 
her father's enemies would seek after her to destroy 
her. He therefore had a very large harp made for him- 
self in which he laid the child, together with much 
gold, and precious things. He then commenced his 
wanderings up to the North to avoid Sigurd^s enemies, 
carrying the harp everywhere with him. When he 
€ame to streams in solitary woods, he let the maid 
^sometimes come out of the harp to wash herself, but 
the rest of the time he kept her continually shut up ; 
and when she wept sometimes, thinking herself solitary 
and abandoned, he struck the harp with so masterly a 
hand, that the maid became silent, and listened to it. 
But Heimer had no peace anywhere, the whole world 
appearing to him desolate and empty, since Sigurd an 
Brynhilda were gone. 

After long wanderings, they came one evening to 
cottage called Spangarhed in Norway, where an < 
nvan of the name of Åke lived with his wife. Grim 


She was alone at home, and asked who Heimer was ? 
He said he was a staffsman^ or beggar, and sought a 
lodging for the night ; but as he was warming him- 
self by the hearth, Grima saw by the fire-light, a gold 
bracelet glimmering under his rags, and some precious 
embroidery sticking out of the harp. Grima then 
granted his request; but said, that he would not be able 
to get any peace in that room, on account of her and 
her old man^s gabbling, and bade him therefore lie in a 
barn, which she showed him. 

When her husband presently after came home, Grima 
related the whole circumstance to him, giving him the 
counsel to murder Heimer while he slept, which would 
gain them riches enough to live the rest of their lives 
without labour and trouble. He answered, " That it 
seemed to him ill-done to betray his guest ;'^ but Grima 
said : ^^ Thou art little of a man, and very timid ; but 
thou shalt either kill him now, or I will have him for 
my husband, and we shall kill you,** accusing the man 
moreover of evil intentions towards herself before her 
husband^s return. Then was Åke highly irritated, and 
every thing was done as this wicked woman desired ; 
they crept into the barn^ and Åke with his ax gave the 
sleeping Heimer his death-wound. After this, they 
carried the harp into their cottage and struck a light. 
They tried to open it, but it was so curiously closed, 
that they could not find the spring, and were obliged 
to break it up. They found great riches in it, it is 
true^ but the pleasure they might have afibrded was 
spoilt by the discovery of the little girl. Then Åke 
exclaimed, ** Here the proverb comes true, that ill-luck 
attends him who betrays a trusting guest.** Grima 
asked Aslög her name, but Aslög pretended to be dumb, 
and did not answer. ^^ It will go ill with our business^ 


according to my prophecy/' said the old man. ** What 
are we to do with this child y^ Grima said, ^' She shall 
pass for our own child, and she shall be called Kraka, 
after my mother/* *' There is no chance of any one 
believing that we, who are such an ugly and deformed 
couple, can have so fair a daughter,*^ said the old man. 
" You will never find a good plan,^* retorted his wife, 
'^ but I shall manage it all. I wiU put tar on her head, 
so I think her hair will not be too long; she shall be- 
sides wear ragged clothes, and do the hardest work/^ 

And thus they did, and Aslög grew up in great 
poverty and never spoke, but was considered dumb. 



At this time Ragnar Lodbrok was on his sea expe- 
ditions trying to forget his sorrow for Tora's death; and 
one summer as he was coasting Norway, he laid his 
ships to in a small bay. In the morning the provision 
men were sent on shore to bake bread, and seeing a 
house not £Eur off, they went there that they might bake 
more conveniently. This house was Spangarhed. 
Kraka had gone out early in the morning with the 
cattle, but when she saw so many ships coming that 
way, she began to wash herself and to comb her hair, 
though this had been strictly forbidden by Grima. She 
was now a most beautiful woman, and her hair was so 
long that it reached to the ground forming a coveri — 
on every side. She afterwards went home, and [ 
rived as the ship-cooks were already busied in fin 
the oven. They asked Grima if Ejraka were ] 
daughter, which she answered afBrmatively. ^' Th 


you are very different,*' replied the men, *' for she is 
the loveliest virgin, and thou art very ugly and witch- 
like,'* Grima answered. " I also was considered very 
beautifal in the days that I dwelt in my father's vil- 
lage, though no one can perceive it now because I am 
much changed.'* They now requested that Kraka 
might knead the dough for them, but they would them- 
selves prepare and bake the bread. Kraka did so, but 
the men looking at her continually, neglected their bu- 
siness so that the bread was burnt. When they re- 
turned to the ship, the people said they ought to be 
punished for their carelessness, for never had bread 
been so completely spoilt. Ragnar asked the reason 
of this, and the men confessed all, saying they had 
never seen a lovelier maiden. ^' She is not as beauti- 
fiil as Tora,*' said Ragnar ; but they persisted in pro- 
nouncing her to be in no way her inferior. This Ragnar 
thought was venturing far, and therefore commanded 
some men to find out if this were the case, else the 
ship-cooks were to be punished for having outraged 
Tora*s memory. It was very stormy that day, so the 
messengers could not set out. The following morning, 
as they were preparing to depart, Ragnar added, that 
if Kraka were as beautifid as Tora, she was to come to 
him neither dressed nor undressed, neither fasting nor 
satisfied, neither alone nor in company. The messen- 
gers set out, and finding Kraka's beauty to have been 
in no way exaggerated, they presented their King's 
salutation and errand. When Grima heard it, she said, 
" Your King is apparently not quite in his right mind ;** 
but Kraka said, ^< That she would comply with his re- 
quest, but not before the following day,'* with which 
answer t^e messengers returned^ 

The following morning, Kraka came to the shore. 
She had her hair spread out over her, and weaved in a 


net ; sbe had eaten a white onion before comings and 
had the old man's sheep dog, so that she thought she 
had fulfilled Ragnar's intentions. She would not go 
on board before she had received a promise of peace 
and security for herself, after which, Ragnar conducted 
her into the cabin of the Admiral galley, and thought 
he had never seen a lovelier maid. They spoke awhile 
together, after which he made an exclamation to Odin, 
desiring the love of the maiden. Kraka answered: 
^^My Lord promised peace, let him keep it also* 
Kraka has come ; may the King let her go.'' 

Ragnar now desired his treasurer to produce the 
gold embroidered petticoat which had been Tora's and 
offered it to Tora with these words in verse : 

*^ Dost thou understand this ? Wilt thou have tiie 
robe which adorned Tora Hjort ? It suits thee well. 
Her white hands have played upon it. Lovely and 
kind was she to me till death." 

Kraka answered in the same measure : 

** I dare not take the gold-embroidered robe, which 
adorned Tora Hjort. It suits not me. Kraka, am I 
called in coal-black baize. I have ever herded goats on 
the stones by the sea-shore. 

** And now I will go home,*' added Kraka, " and if the 
King's mind does not change, he can afterwards send 
for me." On which she returned to Spangarhed. 



Raonar proceeded to the place for which he ws 
bound ; but it was not very long before he returned 1 
Spangarhed, and sent men to fetch Kraka. She the 
went to Åke and Grima, and said she was going awa^ 


" And I know well/^ she added, *^ that you killed my 
foster*father, and none have done me greater evil than 
you. But I will do you no harm ; but this I wish you, 
that every day may be worse than the one before, and 
the last worst of all/^ With that she went to the ships 
and was well received. At night Ragnar desired that 
they might repose together ; but Kraka refused, saying 
it was more honourable for them and their descendants 
if they waited till their marriage could be celebrated at 
home in his kingdom ; and he let her do as she pleased 
in this. When they got home a splendid entertain- 
ment was made, during which Ragnar's marriage was 
celebrated. He had many sons by Kraka. The eldest 
was called Iwar. He had gristle everywhere in his 
body instead of bone, and was therefore unable to walk, 
but was carried about in a litter; notwithstanding he 
was very tall and strong, and moreover wise and pru- 
dent. The second was called Björn, and afterwards got 
the additional name of Ironside, because he never wore 
armour ; but went to battle with his bare body, so that 
people thought that by magic he could not be wounded. 
The third was called Hvitserk, and the fourth Rogn- 
wald. They grew up to be strong and stout men, and 
became very expert in all manner of acquirements and 
feats of arms. 


aaonab's sons take hvitabt. 

As the elder brothers had meanwhile long been en- 
gaged in warlike expeditions, and had gained to them- 
selves much fortune and renown, the younger brothers 
thought they also ought no longer to remain at home unf 

F 3 


occupied^ but rather gain themselves honour and ^ory 
abroad. Ragnar therefore gave them many ships of 
war, with which they visited foreign countaies^ fighting 
many batUes, but gaining continual victories, so that 
their riches increased and their followers became more 
numerous. Iwar now said, that they should undertake 
something more difficult, so that their bravery might 
really be seen, and he advised attacking Hvitaby, 
(Whitby in Yorkshire), because many brave Kings, 
their father amongst the rest had been there, but had 
all been obliged to return with loss on account of the 
bravery of the people, and the necromancy that was 
practised there. The brothers agreed, and so they sailed 
to Hvitaby. They ordered their brother Rognwald 
with some of their company to remain on the shore, 
partly to watch the ships, and partly because they con- 
sidered him too young for so hard a battle as they now 
expected. On this they went up to the castle, where, 
old stories relate, that there were two heifers so charmed 
that none were able to withstand them, or even to 
listen to their lowing. The defendants put themselves 
in array against the troops of the three brothers, and 
let the heifers loose, who ran forward lowing and 
making an evil sound which frightened the troops. 
This Iwar perceiving as he was borne upon shields, he 
took his bow and shot the heifers, which falling down 
dead, the battle began to turn. Meanwhile, Rognwald 
said to his men on the shore : " Blest are my brothers 
and their people, who have such sport and pastime. 
They have left us here, that they alone may have th 
glory, but we shall join them on our own account.'* Th< 
did so, and Rognwald advanced with such fury in tb 
battle, that he soon fell; but the other brothers final 
drove off the townspeople, took all their moveable 
.destroyed the castle, and returned home. 




OsTSN^ sumamed Beli, Ragnar's tributary in Up<- 
sala was powerful and cunningy but of evil counsel. 
He was a great lover of sacrifice, and it is related that 
he had a charmed cow called, Se-belja, or Ever-lowing, 
to which he sacrificed ; and when the enemies entered 
the land, Se-belja was let loose against them, which so 
bewildered them by her lowing and magic, that they 
began to attack one another. For all these reasons. 
King Osten was much feared, and permitted to sit at 
home in quiet. 

One summer, Ragnar coming to visit him, östen 
caused a great entertainment to be prepared for his 
reception. He had a daughter named Ingeborg, who 
was very fair and lovely, and he ordered her to pour 
forth for himself and Ragnar at the feast. Ragnar's 
men then began to say that it would be more fitting 
that he should have such a King^s daughter as Inge- 
borg for his Queen, instead of a peasant's daughter like 
Kraka. These words finally reached Ragnar's ears, who 
thought them not ill-spoken; he therefore affianced 
himself to Ingeborg, but deferred the marriage to the 
following summer. Ragnar then returned home, but 
forbade his men to speak to any of this engagement. 
Kraka made a great festival for his return, and at night 
•when they were resting together, asked him for news, 
to which he replied that he knew none. ^^ If you are 
not inclined for relating news," said Kraka, ** I may do 
it ; and it is wonderful that a King should affiance him- 
self to one woman, when he has another already for his 
wife; but I will reveal to you that I am in no way a 


peasant's daugbter^ but a King's daagbter of much 
bigber butb than Ingeborg, botb by my paternal and 
maternal ancestry/* "Wbo was tby father then?' 
asked Ragnar. She answered, ^' He was Sigurd Faf- 
nisbane, and my mother was the Amazon Brynbilda, 
King Budle's daughter.*' ^It seems improbable to 
me" said Ragnar, ^^ that their child should be caUed 
Kraka, and be brought up at Spangarhed/* But she 
now related that her real name was Aslög, and all that 
had happened to her; and added as a sign of the truth 
of her words, the son of whom she was now pregnant, 
should have a snake in his eye. Some time after, 
Aslog gave birth to a son, who having the sign of which 
she had spoken, was called Sigurd Orm-i-öga (Snake 
in Eye.) When Ragnar heard this, he rejoiced greatly 
over it, thought no more of Ingeborg, and loved Aslog 
not less than in the beginning. 



Kino Osten thought great contempt was shewn to 
his daughter and himself by King Ragnar's breach of 
his engagement, so enmity ensued between the two 
Kings, and in consequence, Agnar and Erik armed 
to go and plunder in Sweden. As they were launching 
their vessels, a man happening to stand in the way of 
Agnar's ship was killed, which was by the peop'" 
considered a very bad omen, but the brothers pa 
no attention to it, and held on their course to Swede 
There they commenced ravaging and burning the coui 
try, and continued to do so as far as Upsala, at whi< 


place Osten, by means of messengers who had been 
flying through all his dominions, had collected a great 
army against them* He concealed two thirds of his 
forces, and the cow Se-belja in a neighbouring wood, 
and the remaining third part erected their tents on the 
field. When the brothers advanced and saw osten's 
troop, they thought their own was equally numerous, 
and attacked it with great vigour, but when they were 
engaged in the fight, the ambush broke upon them, and 
it was very difficult for them to withstand the superior 
numbers. In addition it is said that their men became 
so confused by Se-belja's bellowing, that they began 
to fall on one another. Agnar and Erik however 
defended themselves manfully, and several times cut 
their way through osten's troops. Finally however 
Agnar fell, which when Erik saw, he fought like a 
desperate man, not caring if he should lose his life or 
not. He was at last entangled in the fray and taken 
prisoner, on which östen ordered the battle to cease. 
He then advanced towards Erik.ofiering peace and 
reconciliation, adding that he would give him his 
daughter Ingeborg as an atonement for Agnar's Ufe. 
But Erik returned answer : " I will not buy the maid's 
embraces for the life of my brother, I will not hear 
how östen will be greeted as Agnar's bane. Then would 
my mother not weep, nor brave men drink to my 
memory. Therefore let my life depart on the sharp- 
pointed lances.^^ He then demanded permission for 
his men to return home in peace; and desired that 
lances should be planted on the rampart with their 
points upward, on which he himself chose to be 
thrown, östen said this should be done though Erik 
had chosen ill for them both. When all was ready, 
Erik drew a ring ofi" his hand, and delivering it to his 


men desired that it should be carried to Aslög ; singing 
thus — 

Qnickly speak the words. 
Fallen are Erik's warriors I 
Sorely will Aslog grieve 
Wlien of my death she hears. 
My step-moiher 
Will tell it to her sons. 

After this he was thrown on the lances^ and seeing a 
raven fly over his head, sung again : 

There croskB the raven 

High over my head : 

A merry feast will he 

Make to himself of me. 

in doth he retnm the many roasts 

I have carved for him in battle. 

After this he gave up his life with great cheerfulness, 
and his men returned again to Lejre. They found 
Aslög at home alone^ Ragnar being out at sea, and his 
three sons likewise. The men advanced towards her, 
and said they were the messengers of Erik and Agnar's 
death. Then she asked with great anguish what tidings 
they brought ? If the Swedes were in the country, and 
if the King's sons had fitUen? On which the men 
related how all had passed, and when they came to 
Erikas song as he sent her the ring, the people remarked 
that she shed tears which were like blood in appea]>- 
ance, and hard as hail-stones, no creature having ever 
seen her weep before or since. She answered that 
she was now alone and unable to do anything, bt 
that she would afterwards take vengeance for Agm 
and Erik as if they had been her own sons. 





Soon after her own sons returned from Whitby. 

They then informed her of Rognwald^s deaths but she 

did not lament him much, saying that she had foreseen 

that he would not live long to any glory. " But I will 

inform you/^ she added, "that Agnar and Erik the 

noblest of heroes are fallen, and it will be to your 

eternal shame if you do not help me to avenge it.'' 

Iv^r, the boneless, answered^ " I will never go to 

Sweden to fight against King öiiten and his necro- 

mancy,'' in which all his brothers joined. Then Aslög 

said : " This I know, that though Agnar and Erik were 

my step-sons, they would not have let you lie a year 

unavenged.'* But Iwar answered : " It is to no purpose 

that you utter the one incentive after the other to us, 

for we know better than you what danger it includes.^' 

Aslög said that those who feared such things were not 

dependable men, and on this she intended to retire, 

finding she could not move her sons ; but Sigurd-Orm- 

i-Oga who was three years old, having listened to this 

conversation, said : " If thou so longest, mother, after 

three days I shall set out against King östen, and he 

shall not long rule in Upsala if my Disor* are good 

for anything.*^ " Thou my good child,*' said Aslög, 

" behavest thyself honourably, but it is little that thou 

and I can do.'' The elder brothers blushed when 

they heard this, and finally promised their assistance 

also. By this means a great army was made ready 

against Sweden, part of which was to go by land and be 

* Each individual's own Fate^ or Goddess of Fate was called 


lead by Aslog, but the sons were to go by sea with the 
fleet. Both bodies afterwards met at an appointed 
rendezvous, and begun plundering and burning in Swe- 
den, and destroying every living creature. 


KING Östen' s fall. 

The people fled before the face of this war to King 
östen. He well understood whose these Vikings 
might be, and therefore sent out messengers and as- 
sembled all who could carry arms throughout the king- 
dom. Having thus collected a mighty host, he ad- 
vanced against Ragnar's sons, and a violent battle 
ensued. It is said by old traditions that the cow Se- 
belja was this time also in Osten's army, and with her 
bellowing so terrified and confused the enemy that they 
all, excepting Ragnar's sons, began to fight against one 
another. But Iwar had caused a bow to be made for 
him, so large that none but he could handle it, and 
being borne into the fight, was seen to bend it as easily 
as if it had been the weakest twig. The string was 
then heard to sound so loud, that the like had never 
been known before, and the arrow flew through both 
Se-belja's eyes. She then fell, but presently after 
rushed on again bellowing worse than before. Iwar 
then desired his men to throw him upon the cow, and 
to this end made himself as light as a child for them ; 
but when he fell down upon her back, he became 
as heavy as a mountain, so that he crushed her > 
death. After this the brothers encouraged their peoj , 
and Björn and Hvitserk advanced bravely forwj 
through östen^s troops, of which the greater part w 


cut to pieces^ and the rest took to flight. At last, King^ 
Osten himself fell, on which the brothers caused the 
fight to cease^ and sparing the survivors returned home 


BAQNAR's sons take WISILSB0R6. 

Raqnar's sons were continually in arms, and 

Sigurd Orm-i-Oga grew up so fast that he was soon 

able to join them in their expeditions. They once 

came to a very strong castle called Wisilsborg which 

they determined to storm; but notwithstanding their 

courage, it was in vain. They laid siege to it, but after 

six months' fruitless efforts, and many stratagems of 

war, they gave up all hope of success and intended to 

return home. The inhabitants meanwhile went daily 

out on the walls, and spreading precious stuffs and 

carpets before them, showed them much gold and 

silver, saying tauntingly that they had believed Raguar's 

sons to be other sort of men ; but they had now found 

out that their bravery had been too much extolled. 

They afterwards struck their shields, and encouraged 

each other by loud shouts and cries. When Iwar heard 

this, it afflicted him so deeply, that he fell sick, and 

was put to bed. He lay the whole day unable to speak, 

but towards evening he asked a word with Björn, Hvit' 

serk, Sigurd and the other chiefs. He then explained 

to them a stratagem of which he had thought, and 

which they carried into execution. They went at night 

sepretly out of their tents to the neighbouring forest, 

and hewed great loads of wood which they carried and 

laid down close under the castle wall. This work they 


continued till Iwar thought there was enough^ when 
they lighted the pyre, which gave out so great a flame 
and such a fierce heat that the wall cracked, and began 
to loosen, whereon they attacked it with battering rams 
and succeeded in forcing a breach through it. They 
then killed every living creature within the walls, plun- 
dered all the goods, and burnt the castle* After tMs 
they continued their expeditions to distant lands, ra- 
vaging the south of Europe, and proposing not to stop 
before they had mastered Rome. They met one day a 
grey-headed beggar, who said he had wandered through 
many countries, and asked him how far it was to 
Rome. He then showed them two pair of old iron 
sandals, saying that he had worn them out on his way 
thence. Tliis they thought therefore would be too hx 
for them, so they turned, and continuing their depreda-< 
tions let no single castle escape them. Hereby they 
gained much renown, and were so much dreaded, that 
there was not a child who did not speak with terror of 
Ragnar's sons. 



Ragnar meanwhile sat at home with Åslög in his 
kingdom, not knowing precisely where his sons were, 
but hearing their renown spoken of in these words : 
''None can compare with Ragnar's sons." A great 
longing and desire then possessed him, again to set out 
on some sea-expedition, that his old fame in arms 
might not rust, thinking he ought to be as good as his 
sons. In his youth he had subdued a King in England 
called Hama, but his son Ella, (or Ethelred, as he is 


called by the English,) had rebelled against him^ 
Reflecting in what direction he should command his ex- 
pedition^ Ragnar determined to bring this Ethelred again 
to his duty, and therefore caused two uncommonly 
large ships to be built, and a powerful army to be in 
readiness to accompany him. The news of this, threw 
all the neighbouring Kings into alarm, and each kept a 
sharp look out on his own frontiers. But when Aslög 
asked where he was bound; he answered: "For 
England.^' She said, he ought to have more ships for 
the purpose; but he replied, that it would not be 
difficult to take England with many ships ; but to do so 
with only two, would be an unexampled exploit of 
arms. But Aslög objected that the large vessels could 
not run into the English ports, and that they would 
suffer shipwreck on the coast. But Ragnar had got 
this project fixed in his mind, and was not to be turned 
from it. As soon as a favourable wind sprung up, he 
ordered his men to go on board ; Aslög accompanied 
him down to the ship, 'and then said she would now 
recompense him for Tora^s silk petticoat which he had 
formerly given her. She then gave him a shirt of 
greyish silk, which was not sewed but woven through- 
out, and promised him that steel could have no effect 
upon him while he wore it, as it was blest by the 

- Uagnar accepted the gift, and said he would follow 
her advice ; thereupon he set off, but every one could 
perceive that this separation went to Aslog's heart. 




Ragnar now sailed to England ; but when almost 
arrived a storm threw his ships on the coast, so that 
they were broken to pieces; however his men with 
their arms fortunately escaped, and they immediately 
began devastating the country. King Ethelred who 
by his spies had heard of Ragnar's expedition, had a 
great army consisting of every man who could wield 
arms, and the best horsemen in all England assembled 
ready to receive him. He gave orders to his troops, 
however, that none should carry pointed weapons 
against Ragnar; for said he, "Ragnar has sons who 
would never leave us in peace if he were to fall here/' 
Ragnar on his side arrayed himself in a helmet and the 
silken shirt which Aslög had given him, and bore no 
other defensive armour. The fight commenced, but as 
Ragnar had fewer people, the greater part of them soon 
fell, while he went up and down the whole day amongst 
Ethelred's troops, dealing such murderous blows that 
none could withstand him. At last all his men fell, and 
he found himself enclosed in a wall of shields, and so 
taken prisoner. They then asked him who he was ; but 
he gave no answer. Then Ethelred said : *^ He shall ex- 
perience worse if He will not tell us his name f^ and 
then commanded him to be cast into a pit full of ser- 
pents, with orders to remove him immediately if he 
confessed himself to be Ragnar. 

Ragnar was now led to the pit and thrown into i 
but the serpents did not touch him. The men th( 
drew the silken shirt off him, after which the serpem 
fastened on him on every side. Then spoke Ragn 


»nd said : ^^The pigs would now grunt if they heard of 
the boar's death, and what the old one sufifers/' The 
bystanders, however, did not yet comprehend that he 
must be Ragnar, but let him remain where he was. 
He then commenced to sing his former exploits, and 
his fifty battles, and that song is called Bjarkamal. 
Every verse begins with 

We foufirht with our swords.* 

At the conclusion, after rejoicing in the thought that 
no King would have more renown amongst the people 
than himself, he says : 

Now the Gods call me. 

And I mourn not to die ! 

Haste let us hence ! 

The Walkyrior whom Odin 

Sends from his shield-polished hall. 

Beckon us home. 

Joyfully shall I drink 

The ale with the Asars on their thrones. 

Life's moments are past. 

Smiling shall I die. 

Ragnar now expired with great courage and good 
fame, and was immediately after carried out of the 
serpent's pit. 


ethelred's embassy. 

When the men repeated Ragnar's death-song to 
Ethelred, he easily discovered that it really was Ragnar, 
and therefore fell into great dread of his sons. At last 

* It is found translated in Blair's Dissertation on the Poems of 


he took the determination to send an embassage to 
them, asking to make atonement for the death of thdr 
father, and desired his Ambassadors at the same time, 
to take especial note of the gestures and behaviour of 
each as he heard of Ragnar's death. 

When these arrived before the brothers, Sigurd and 
Hvitserk sat playing drafts, and Björn stood in the 
middle of the floor putting a handle to his lance. The 
Ambassadors entered, and saluting Iwarwith deference, 
said they were sent by Ethelred to announce Ragnar's 
death. Then Sigurd and Hvitserk let the draft-board 
fall ; but Iwar begged the messengers to relate the par- 
ticulars. They did so : and when they came to the 
place where Ragnar said, " The pigs will grunt, &c" 
Björn grasped the handle of the lance so hard, that he 
left the marks of his fingers in it, and then hacked it so 
violently, that it broke in pieces. Hvitserk pressed 
the draughtsman which he held in his hand with such 
strength, that the blood sprung from the point of each 
finger. Sigurd sat paring his nails with a knife, and 
listened with such attention to the relation, that he did 
not remark that he had cut himself to the bone, and 
seeing it, he did not heed it. Iwar asked carefully 
about every particular, and his colour sometimes be- 
came blue, sometimes pale, sometimes red. Hvitserk 
wanted to cut down the messengers on the spot ; but 
Iwar bade them go in peace, and so they returned 
home. When Ethelred was informed of the brother's 
gestures, he said : " We have most to fear firom Iwar's 
temper, though nothing good towards us apparei '|r 
moved the others interiorly f and therefore caused s 
coasts to be carefully watched that no enemy might 1 
upon him unawares. 



bagnar's sons' expedition to enolaxo. 

The brothers now prepared for revenge; but Iwar 
said he would have no part in it, nor fight with Ethel- 
red who was innocent, for Ragnar had been himself the 
origin of his own ruin. The others were angry, and 
said they would not cross their hands on their knees 
and endure such a shame^ even if Iwar would ; and 
that they had before killed so many innocent men, it 
was useless to draw back for this one. They therefore 
began to gather their forces^ though no great numbers 
joined them when it was known that Iwar, on whose 
wisdom all depended, would not take part in the war. 
The brothers set out, but they found Ethelred already 
prepared, were overcome by superior numbers, and 
obliged to fly to their ships again. Iwar had also ac- 
companied them, though he did not take part in the 
combat, and said, ** He would now rather go over to 
King Ella and take an atonement for his father, than 
meet with more such disasters as the present.^' Hvit- 
serk answered, that he would never take an atonement 
for his father's death, and that they would bear no part 
with Iwar ; on which they sailed home. But Iwar went 
to Ethelred, and did as he had said. Ethelred would 
not beUeve him, till Iwar swore to him never to carry 
arms against him. Iwar then asked as the atonement 
for his father's death, as much land as he could cover 
with an ox hide, which Ethelred did not find a great 
request, and willingly granted. Iwar now got a very 
large hide, and caused it to be steeped and stretched 
many times, and at last cut into the very narrowest 
strips, which were bound together into a very long band, 


with which he surrounded a large space on a height^ 
and there founded a castle which he named Lunduna.* 
Many people removed here, for Iwar was soon re- 
nowned for his generosity and good counsel with 
which he often even aided King Ethelred. When se- 
veral years had passed thus, he sent and asked from 
his brothers, his share in the inheritance of fiagnar's 
moveables, and then received much and costly treasure, 
with which he gained himself the friendship of the 
English chiefs, and the promise of remaining neuter if 
any war broke out. After this, he sent his brothers a 
message to collect their forces throughout their domi- 
nions, and with these come to England against Ethel- 
red. They now comprehended Iwar's cunning, and 
did as he desired. As soon as Ethelred heard of their 
arrival, he ordered his people to collect, which they did 
but slowly. Iwar went to him and said, that he would 
keep his oath to the King, but as he could not fight 
against his brothers, he would rather try to reconcile 
them. His brothers, he urged to attack Ethelred im- 
mediately while his forces were so weak ; and when he 
saw the latter again, affirmed that his brothers had 
rejected his mediation. Meanwhile the brothers made 
their attack, and with such success, that they soon 
dispersed Ethelred^s troops and took himself prisoner. 
Iwar had not fought against him for his oath^s sake, 
but he now advanced, and bid him remember what 
death he had made their father suffer. By Iwar's 
orders, therefore, an eagle was drawn upon Ethelred^s 
shoulders, which was done by cutting the flesh a ly 
from the back. Salt was then thrown into the woi d, 
and the ribs cut from the back-bone and bent < t- 
wards like the wings of an eagle, after which the Ir js 
* Lincoln. 


urere drawn through this wound. Ethelred was thus 
sorely tortured and tormented before he died, and the 
brothers then thought that they had amply revenged 
the death of their father Ragnar. 



IwAR reserved to himself Ethelred's kingdom in 
England leaving his father's dominions to his brothers. 
Björn Jemsida got those parts of Sweden which were 
called Swea and Oothaland^ and became the ancestor of 
many Swedish Kings. Sigurd Orm-i-Oga got the 
Danish Isles, Halland, Skåne, Bleking, Bohuslån and 
the southern part of Norway. Harald Hårfager, the 
first Bang of all Norway^ descended from his daughter 
Aslog. Hvitserk got Jutland^ and the southern coast 
of the Baltic. In a war against Russia, he was once 
overpowered by superior numbers, taken prisoner, and 
the choice of his death being given to him, he preferred 
being burnt on a pyre of men's heads. These brothers 
carried on many and great wars, which are not here 
narrated, and when they were dead, their men travelled 
far and wide seeking new masters, and were thus en- 
gaged by many rich Princes and mighty Kings, but 
thought they never again found such leaders and such 
men as Ragnar Lodbrok and his sons. 

VOL. I. 







Ansgarius was bom in Germany where the Chris- 
tian religion had already been preached. He lost his 
mother at an early age, and was by his father pat to 
school to learn to read, but was in the beginning more 
given to play and vanities than to his instructiou and 
improvement. It is related that he once dreamt that 
he stood on a place full of mud and uncleanness, and 
saw near him a green and beautiful path on which a 
glorious- looking woman was walking, dressed in white 
and shining clothes whom Ansgarius thought he under- 
stood to be the Virgin Mary. Many other women, 
also in white and shining robes were walking with her, 
amongst whom Ansgarius recognised his mother. 
When he saw her, he began struggling to come to her, 
but could not disentangle himself from the mire. The 
Virgin Mary then came towards him ; saying, " Son, 
thou wouldst go to thy mother; but if thou wouldst 
come to our company, thou must fly all vanity and lead 
a pure and godly hfe, for we hate that which is va 
and unfit, and he who loves such things cannot b 
among us/* After this dream, Ansgarius was muc 
changed, and occupied himself with serious and use 


pursuits. When he grew up, he became a monk in 
New Corbej Abbey, and a preacher in the Abbey 
Church. He was much famed for his piety and the 
purity of his life, so that the monks believed him to 
have celestial revelations in sleep, and the people 
thought that the laying on of his hands cured diseases. 
He was sent by the French Emperor, Louis the Pious, 
to preach Christianity in Jutland, which he did with 
much success, and though many dangers surrounded 
him, he stopped long amongst the heathen. 



At this period, Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish 
Vikings swarmed throughout the whole of southern 
Europe, and caused universal dismay by their plunder- 
ing and marauding. It was therefore determined at 
several Church Councils to attempt the conversion of 
these heathen people to Christianity, and by softening 
their manners and feelings, put an end to their murder 
and bloodshed. At the same time Ambassadors from 
King Emund in Upsala reached the French Emperor 
Louis, who having despatched the principal business 
on which they were sent, related that many persons in 
Sweden desired to be instructed in Christianity, and 
that King Emund would give the priests who came to 
him a good reception. It was then determined to send 
some of the clergy, but none dared to undertake this 
dangerous voyage, except Ansgarius and one of his 
brethren. He received many presents from Louis for 
the Swedish monarch, and set out with the Ambassa- 
dors ; but their ship was fallen upon by Vikings, who 

6 2 


took all their treasure from them ; and a few books was 
all they were able to save* On this the other priest 
desired to return^ but Ansgarius said : ^ I give myself^ 
body and soul into Ood^s care, and do not return till I 
have preached Christianity in that land/' 

They therefore continued their journey, and crossing 
lakes, rivers, forests and morasses, after many dangen 
at last reached Björkö,* where the Kings of Sweden 
often lived at that time. King Emund had a co-regent 
named Björn, who was called Bjöm-på-Håga, because 
he generally lived at the royal estate of that name near 
Upsala. This Björn received Ansgarius well, and let 
him preach Christianity in the town, where he converted 
many from the worship of idols, and amongst others 
Hergeir, the King's chief counsellor and Governor of 
Björkö. This Hergeir caused a Church to be built on 
his estate, the first founded in Sweden. 

In a year and a half Ansgarius returned to Germany. 
The Emperor Louis then founded an Archbishopric in 
Hamburgh, that Christianity might be more easily 
promoted in the North; and Ansgarius, though but 
thirty years old, was the first Archbishop. He then 
consecrated as Bishop of Björkö, a monk called Gaut- 
bert, who is likewise known by the name of Simon, 
exhorting him to be careful of the people, not asking 
their possessions, but rather as Ansgarius had done, 
gaining his maintenance by the labour of his hands, 
and set the pattern of a pure and holy life. In addition, 
Ansgarius gave out of his own means all that Simon 
could require for his voyage, and on his arrival ; * at 
this Bishop Simon was soon so detested, that le 
heathen fell upon him, killed his assistant, and dr rt 

* Björkö, a town on Lake Malar» whose situation is now ot 
easily determined. 


liimself out of the kingdom. When the country was 
tlius left without a preacher^ Christianity was much 
neglected. However Hergeir remained firm to his new 
£Bdth, for which he was much derided. According to a 
monkish legend^ he was once at a Ting where the 
lieathens made mockery of his religion. Hergeir then 
said : " We will try which God is the most powerful ; 
you see that a heavy rain is coming on, call ye on your 
Grods^ and I will pray to my God who has shaped 
Heaven and earth that no rain may fall upon me. He 
-whose prayers are granted has the mightiest God.^^ 
They did so, and it is said that no drop fell on Hergeir^ 
though the heathens who sat close by him were wet to 
the skin. 



As the kingdom had now long remained without a 
preacher^ and no other ventured to travel there, Ans- 
garius took the determination to make a second voyage 
to Björkö. A great Ting had been held shortly before 
his arrival, when a man had stepped forward and said, 
that he had met all the old Gods, and that they, by 
him, had sent this message to the King and the people : 
"We have long for love to you, and for your worship 
and sacrifice, granted you peace and good years. Your 
s&eal in our service is now diminishing, and you serve 
a strange God more than us. This you must set aside 
if you ever desire to regain our favour. If you must 
have other Gods, you are permitted to take your for- 
mer King Erik into our company, that he may be a 
new God to you.'^ 


Thus incited, the heathen built a new temple to King 
Erik. Ansgarius arrived immediately on this^ and was 
advised by his friends to return without delay, and 
avoid the persecutions which awaited him ; but he de- 
clared that ^^ nothing should make him fly, and that he 
was ready to suffer torments and death for Christ's 
sake.'* He was well received by the King whose name 
was Olof, but he did not venture on his own authority 
to permit Ansgarius to preach in Björkö, but was 
obliged first to consult the people in a general Ting. 

There was much noise and shouting at the Ting of 
the heathen against the new doctrine ; but when the 
first tumult had somewhat subsided, an old man stepped 
forth and spoke thus : '^ Hear me all, both King and 
people. Here are many amongst us, who in dangers, 
both by sea and land, have experienced how mighty is 
this new God to assist those who call upon him. There- 
fore some have gone even to Dorstad,* only to be 
baptized and christened; and have on such voyages 
suffered from the attacks and treachery of the Vikings, 
and many other dangers. Why then should we not 
receive that with good will here, which we with so much 
danger have sought in foreign lands ? When our own 
Gods can no longer help us, it is well for us to have 
the favour of this mightier God.'^ 

The people were mollified by these words, and Ans- 
garius was therefore permitted to preach Christianity 
in Sweden. He converted very many, built a Church 
in Björkö, provided for the poor and fatherless and 
ransomed prisoners. After some time, he returnei to 
Germany, and the faith was afterwards much persecu 3d 
in Sweden, for no preacher ventured to come th« -e. 
Ansgarius was a very pious man after the mannei of 
* A town in Holland. 


those times. He was easily moved to tears, and bore 
a purse continually at his side that he might give alms 
to the needy. He fasted often, and washed the feet of 
the poor according to our Saviour's words. To keep 
under his body, he always wore a hair-skin shirt next 
to his skin, eating only bread and drinking water, and 
that according to a fixed measure. He was very zealous 
for the conversion of the Northern nations, and spared 
neither himself nor his possessions for this purpose. 
He was canonized by the Pope after his death, and 
worshipped as the patron saint of the North. His bones 
were sent to diflferent countries, and preserved as sacred 






Olof and Erik were the names of two brothers of 
the Iwar race who ruled together in Upsala. Olof died 
early, leaving a son behind him, called Styrbjörn, who 
being but very young at his father's death, Erik 
reigned alone. He was very friendly and beloved by 
the people, and in addition very brave, so that he sub- 
dued Finland, Ettonia and Livonia to the crown of 
Sweden, and gained the surname of Segersall or the 
Victorious. His nephew Styrbjörn, meanwhile, grew up 
in Upsala, and was of a very violent disposition. He 
was once at play with a man of the Court, named Åke, 
and threw a mantle over his head. The man being 
unable to see, chanced to strike a drinking cup against 
Styrbjom's nose which angered him so much that he 
killed Åke, and afterwards refused to pay the usual 
atonement to Ake's relations, saying, ^^ he would only pay 
to the King himself, who might afterwards settle with 
Ake's friends the best he could.'' When Styrbjörn read 1 
his twelfth year, he asked his father's share in the g - 
vemment, and refused to make his appearance at t s 
Ejing's table in Upsala ; but seated himself often < i 
his father's grave, that he might thus turn the hearts f 


the people towards him. King Eri begged him to 
wait till he was sixteen years old, being yet too young 
to undertake so great a charge as the government of a 
whole kingdom ; but Styrbjörn would by no means listen 
to this. He therefore presented himself at the next 
Disar Ting at Upsaia, accompanied by his mother's 
brother Jarl Ulf» and claimed from the people his share 
in the inheritance of the kingdom; and though the 
commons rejected this in consideration of his youth, 
still continued with threats and violence to insist 
upon it. 

This irritated the people so much, that with blows 
and stones they drove Styrbjörn and Ulf from the 
Ting, and afterwards chose another joint heir for Erik; 
that Styrbjörn might in future have no hope. He 
therefore went to Erik, and demanded to be fitted out 
for a Viking expedition as became a King's son. Erik 
agreed to this, and gave him sixty well-appointed ships 
with which he set out, and his first feat was to seek 
for, and slay those men who at the Disar Ting had set 
up the second King. Afler this he sailed firom Sweden, 
making the vow, however, that he would one day either 
rule over this whole kingdom, or lose his life in the 
attempt. And Styrbjörn was now fourteen years old. 


sttbbjobn's expeditions. 

Styrbjörn afterwards sailed far and wide ravaging 
the coasts of the Gulf of Bothnia. He was very bold 
and brave in fight, and being, moreover, stronger than 
most other men, received the surname of Starke (the 
Strong.) At that time there was a famous castle in 

G 3 


Pomerania, called Jomsborg, which had been founded 
by Palna-Toke, a Danish chief, and was considered 
almost impregnable. Besides its very harbour lay 
within the fortress, so that the fleet lay there in perfect 
security. The men in the castle were called Jorosvi- 
kings, and had a law for themselves, of which the first 
condition was, that no one should be admitted into 
their number without the consent of the whole. 2nd. 
None under eighteen, or above sixty years were to be 
admitted. 3rd. No one who was married, for women 
were never permitted to enter the walls. 4th. None 
who had refused a challenge to single fight ; and many 
other hard conditions. These Jomsvikings were con- 
sidered the bravest of men, and were much dreaded in 
that day, notwithstanding Styrbjörn succeeded in sur- 
prising and taking the castle during Palna-Tokes' ab- 
sence, and by this he became very powerful and famous. 
The King, who at this time reigned in Denmark was 
Harald Blatand, who after many contentions was driven 
out of the country by his own son, Sven Tweskägg. 
He then fled to Styrbjörn, and with his assistance was 
reinstated in Denmark. As a reward for this, Styrb- 
jörn got Harald^s daughter, the beautiful Tjri for his 
wife, and Harald was obliged to promise to assist him 
with one hundred ships against King Erik in Upsala. 
On this. Styrbjörn made mighty preparations and col- 
lected one thousand ships in Jomsborg. He waited 
some time for the vessels Harald Blåtand had promised 
him ; but when he saw himself deceived, he set out in 
wrath with all his fleet to Denmark, and forced Hara , 
instead of one hundred, to arm two hundred vessels j r 
his assistance, and even himself to accompany him i 
his expedition. They then sailed for Upsala ; but i j 
Danes sung contemptuous songs about Harald, calli i 


him Styrbjorn's slave, and were displeased that their 
King should endure such compulsions from a foreign 



!Ebik Segebsäll reigned meanwhile in Upsala, and 
was a great and renowned King. Skoglar Toste, a 
freeholder and celebrated Viking in West Gothland, 
had a daughter named Sigrid, much famed for her 
beauty, but very proud and haughty. King Erik 
chose her for his Queen, and gained much support in 
the country from her relations, particularly from Torgny 
the Wise, who was Judge in Upland. When King Erik 
heard that Styrbjörn with his great fleet had entered 
Lake Malar, he sent out summons throughout the king* 
dom for all the men at arms to meet in Upsala. He 
then blocked the entrance of Flöt Sound, so that 
Styrbjörn could not sail out of the lake towards Upsala. 
When the latter arrived, he made his men go on shore, 
and burnt all his ships; that the people might fight with 
the more courage, having no hopes of safety by flight. 
Scarcely was this done, when Harald Blåtand crept with 
his men on board his ships, put out to sea, and so 
sailed home to Denmark, leaving Styrbjörn in the trap. 
This he and his army were obliged to witness from the 
shore, having no means of preventing or punishing Ha- 
rald^s treachery. He, however, did not lose courage, 
but made his men cut a broad road through the forest, 
to the great plain of Fyrisvall, near Upsala. On this 
plain he marshalled his army, having many brave chiefs 
in it, amongst others his uncle, Jarl Ulf, and Björn 


Bredviking, an Icelander. Erik Segersall marshalled 
his men on the other side^ and Torgny the Judge was 
his chief man both in word and deed. The batde was 
violent and long. Torgny had caused chariots to be 
made with lances projecting in front, and sickles and 
scythes fastened on each side, which were drawn by 
condemned criminals into the enemies^ ranks, and caused 
great havoc; but Styrbjörn had such superior numbers, 
that in spite of this he was able to make a stout resist- 
ance ; and so they fought on the whole day without 
being able to conquer on either side. During the night 
many people from the neighbourhood joined Erik, so 
that his army was not less than on the first day. But 
the Jomsvikings were such brave men, that they kept 
up the fight the whole of the second day, and at its 
. conclusion no one could yet determine who would gain 
the victory. The chiefs made sacrifice during the night 
to propitiate the Gods. Styrbjörn sacrificed to Thor; 
and it is said that a red bearded man, who was thought 
to be Thor, shewedhimself to Styrbjörn announcing his 
defeat. Erik on his side, went up to the temple in 
Upsala, and sacrificed to Odin, promising himself to 
the God at the expiration of ten years, if he would only 
this time grant him the victory. It is said, that a one- 
eyed man in a wide blue cloak, with a wide hat on his 
head, then showed himself to Erik, and gave him a 
lance which he should throw against Styrbjom's troops, 
saying, ^^Te now all belong to Odin!'^ and this man 
was thought to have been Odin himself. The third 
day a much severer conflict ensued, and during thi 
night, as the former numerous reinforcements had joine 
King Erik from the neighbourhood. But a universi 
panic presently overtook Styrbjom's men ; they fancic 
the air was full of light arrows hovering over their head 



which blinded and confused them, and were thought to 
be sent from Odin. Besides a sand-hill in the neigh- 
bourhood slid down upon them, causing much confu- 
sion. When Styrbjörn saw that all at last was inclining 
to his fall and defeat; he struck, with anguish and despair^ 
his banner fast into the ground, and shouted with a ter- 
rible Toice to the remnant of his troops, that it was 
better to die with glory than to fly with shame. He 
then cast himself wildly amongst the enemy, and so fell 
pierced with many wounds. The greater part of his 
men followed him, and few fled or surrendered them- 
selves prisoners. When the battle was done, King 
Erik mounted on one of the mounds, and promised a 
great reward to him who could sing a Drapa* on this 
battle. On this, Torwald Hjälteson, an Icelander, pre- 
sented himself, and sung for the King and the army a 
glorious song of victory, and received as a reward two 
precious gold chains ; and this Torwald neither before 
or since had ever meddled with poetry. After this, Erik's 
son, who was only two years old, was carried before the 
troops and was proclaimed, and received homage as his 
father's successor, and sovereign of the whole kingdom. 
As he was, on account of his age, on this occasion car- 
ried in arms, he was called Olof Sköt-Konung, or 
Olof Lap-King. Styrbjörn left a son called Torkil 
Sprakalagg, whose son was named Ulf, and was the 
father of Sven Ulfson, from whom a whole race of 
Danish Kings descend. 

• Drapa ; a song of victory. 




Sigrid was so proud and imperious^ that Erik could 
not live with her ; so they separated, and she went to 
her estates in West Gothland, where great power was 
granted her by him. He afterwards married öda Jarl, 
Hakan's daughter from Norway. Before Erik's time, 
the Kings had commonly co-regents with them, but 
Erik changed this custom, and took in their place as 
an assistant in the government, an o£5icer, who was 
called Sweden's Jarl, as a distinction from the other 
insignificant Jarls. Erik drove King Sven Tweskägg 
from Denmark, and died predsely ten years after the 
battle of Fjrrisvall. 






Olof Skötkonung succeeded to the kingdom after 
his father. His mother, Sigrid, lived on her estates, 
and was far-famed for her beauty, wisdom, and riches. 
Harald Grenske, a tributary King, once came from 
Norway to West Gothland to pay his court to her, but 
she refused his request, and immediately set off for 
another of her estates. Harald followed her though his 
men advised him not, and when he arrived at the place 
where she had retreated, he found another King, called 
Wifawald from Russia, was there before him who had 
also come on the same errand. They were both con- 
ducted to a large hall, where Sigrid caused them to be 
richly provided with mead and ale, so that they became 
intoxicated, and fell asleep. After that, she caused the 
doors to be shut, and the hall set on fire, so that those 
who were within were burnt to death, or killed by her 
people. " Thus,*' said Sigrid, " she would teach petty 
Kings to come making love to her.** And for this 
haughty behaviour of hers, she was called Sigrid 

At that time, a King called Olof Tryggwason, who 
was widely renowned for his bravery and understanding, 
ruled in Norway. In his youth he had travelled much. 


and in England had embraced the Christian religion, for 
the spread of which he was very zealous. He came 
finally to Norway where Hakan Jarl reigned. Håkan 
was then killed, and Olof taken as ruler over the whole 
kingdom where he partly persuaded, and partly forced 
the people to accept the Christian faith. He once sent 
Ambassadors to Sigrid Storråda seeking her hand in 
marriage, and received a gracious answer; the follow- 
ing summer they met and their union was agreed on. 
Then Olof said that Sigrid should first accept the Chris- 
tian religion and be baptized, to which she answered : 
^^ It is not likely that I will abandon the faith I have 
held before, and my friends before me; but you may, for 
all 1 care, willingly believe in what God you please/* 
Then Olof was very wrath, got up, and said hastily : 
^*Why should I wish to know you, you heathen 
hound V^ with which he struck her on the face with his 
glove. Then Sigrid stood up, and said : ^' This blow 
will once prove your bane," on which they parted. 
Sigrid afterwards married Ejing Sven Tweskägg, who 
for her sake got back his kingdom in Denmark, and 
she never ceased exciting him, and her son Olof Sköt- 
konung agjunst Olof Tryggwasön. 



An enmity had arisen between King Sven in Den- 
mark and King Burislaf in Windland,* which Sigwa 
Jarl of Jomsborg proposed to appease on conditi( 
that Burislaf should get Tyri, King Sven's sister, ai 

* Windland^ afterwards called Wenden, means the ionthe 
coast of the Baltic where the Wenden lived. 


Styrbjörn Starke's widow to wife; but Tyri gave a 
positive refusal, as Burislaf was a heathen and she a 
Christian, and so the marriage did not take place. Bu- 
nslaf complained of this, till he forced Jarl Sigwald at 
last to go to King Sven, and persuade him to give Tyri 
up into Sigwald's hands. She was then conducted 
against her will to King Burislaf, who caused a great 
wedding-feast to be prepared, taking her as his Queen ; 
but she neither ate nor drank as long as she was among 
the heathen; and after seven days, one night she fled 
secretly from the place with her foster-father, conceal- 
ing berself in the forests, and keeping the most solitary 
paths. Thus they passed through Denmark and Swe* 
den^ not daring to stop till they reached Norway. There 
Tjrri made herself known, and revealed the whole cir- 
cumstances to King Olof Tryggwason. He gave her 
rest and protection in his kingdom ; and as he thought 
her a fair woman, and moreover that she spoke sen- 
sibly and well, he asked her for his wife, to which she 
agreed, thinking it was an honourable marriage to get 
such a famous King as defender and spokesman. Their 
marriage was therefore celebrated; but no message was 
sent to King Sven^ neither was his consent asked. 
When Queen Tyri had been in Norway some time, 
she began with fair words to try to persuade Eang 
Olof to go ta Windland, and there demand her dowry 
which consisted of many precious effects ; but all Olofs 
friends counselled him against this voyage, for they 
feared that Queen Sigrid would persuade Sven Twes- 
kägg to attack Olof on his way through Denmark. 

One spring day the King had found a rose which 
was uncommonly blown for the season, he carried it 
to the Queen's apartments; but when he came, he 
found that she was sitting weeping. Olof then gave 


her the rare rose, but Tyri put it aside with her hand, 
saying: " Greater treasures gave my father, Harald 
Blåtand, who by the edge of the sword took all Norway 
with its taxes and revenues ; but you are afraid to pass 
through Denmark for Bjing Sven my brother's sake/' 
Then the King angrily started up, saying : ** I fear 
not to go for thy brother Sven Tweskagg's sake, but 
the loss will be his when we meet/' The King then 
caused a Ting to be sounded, and announced that he 
intended this summer to undertake the voyage to 
Windland, and demanding ships and men from the 
whole kingdom. He thus got together sixty well- 
armed vessels, with which he steered south to Wind* 
land, taking Queen Tyri with him on the expedition. 



Jarl Erik had ever since his father Jarl Hakan's 
death been banished from Norway by Olof Trygg- 
wason. His summers he passed in the usual piratical 
expeditions, acquiring riches and renown for his bra- 
very, but his winters were spent sometimes with King 
Sven in Denmark, sometimes with Olof Skötkonung 
in Sweden, and he sought to form an alliance between 
these two Princes against Olof Tryggwason, in the hope 
of re-acquiring Norway, his paternal inheritance. 

When it was known in Denmark that Olof Trygg- 
wason had sailed for Windland, Sigrid Storråda w '; 
to her husband. King Sven, and made her represei * 
tion of the matter, saying that Olof Tryggwason 1 
without Sven^s permission married his sister 1 » 
which none of his renowned ancestors would ever h i 


permitted. She finally irritated him to that degree, 
that he sent a message to King Olof in Sweden^ and 
Jarl Erik, begging them to come to Denmark with their 
fleets and armies, that they might make a joint attack 
upon Olof Tryggwason. Meanwhile he sent Sigwald 
Jarl of Jomsborg, as a spy to the Court of the latter. 
This man had, during the foregoing events, insinuated 
himself with King Burislaf, and got the whole of Queen 
Tyri's dower; but when he joined Olof Tryggwason, 
he contrived by his arts and cunning so to ingratiate 
himself in his favour, that he became his best friend 
and counsellor. He found all manner of excuses for 
delaying OloPs departure from Windland, and when a 
rumour reached them that King Sven of Denmark 
was making preparations for war, Sigwald insisted it 
was but a rumour, persuading Olof that it was not 
very likely Sven Tweskägg would venture to fight 
against him and his great armies, and ofiering besides 
to accompany him with his own troops if Olof pleased. 
In these efforts he succeeded, and received shortly 
after secret intimation that King Olof of Sweden, 
Sven of Denmark, and Jarl Erik were prepared, and 
lay with their fleets behind the Island of Swolder on 
the Pomeranian coast waiting for Olof Tryggwason, 
when he would pass that way. Sigwald then hurried 
the departure, which soon after took place. Olof 
Tryggwason had many large and powerful ships in his 
fleets but of these^ three were particularly remarkable, 
and were called Tranan, Ormen Korta, and Ormen 
Långa (the short and long serpent). They were all 
dragon-ships,* and larger than any others. Ormen 
Långa was, however, the largest, and its like in beauty, 

* Dragon ships was the name given to those which were very 
large, and had a dragon's head carved on the prow ; and over the 
Btem> the appearance of a coiled dragon's tail. 


strength^ and size, had never been seen in the north. 
King Olof Tryggwason himself steered it, and it had a 
chosen company of very brave and stout men. Ulf 
the Red, who bore the Ejing's banner, and Kolbjörn 
Stallare^ were Stambos on board: that is, appointed to 
defend the stern of the vessel, a post which always Tiras 
reserved for the bravest. Enar Tambaskelfwer, a good 
marksman, though only eighteen years old, was also of 
the company. The smaller ships were lighter sailers, 
and took the lead; but Jarl Sigurd said, that as he 
knew the soundings he would go ahead, that the larg^e 
vessels might not strike on the sandbanks between the 
islands. King Olof Tryggwason, who beUeved in the 
Jarl, followed him, and he steered his course right for 
the Island of Swolder. 



It was very beautiful weather and clear sunshine 
the day that the Kings of Sweden and Denmark^ 
together with Jarl Erik and a number of people had 
ascended a height on the island to look round theni> 
and their fleet lay near the shore under cover of the 
island. They had made the agreement before, that if 
they could vanquish Olof Tryggwason, they would 
divide Norway between themselves, and each retain the 
ships which he conquered. They now saw many 
vessels out at sea, one of which was very large. Then 
both the Kings said it must be Ormen Langa, but 
Jarl Erik denied it. Shortly after a much larger shij 
was seen, but it was not a Dragon-ship. Then Kin| 
Sven said : ^^ Olof Tryggwason is certainly afraid sinc< 
* StaUare^ Marshal. 


he dares not set up the Dragon's head on his ship.'^ 
Jarl Erik answered : " That is not Ormen Långa ; but 
I see by the striped sails that it is ErUng Skjalgsson's 
ship, and it is better to let it sail past, than to have it 
against us in the battle/' Behind this came three 
other large vessels of which one was very remarkable 
for its size. Then Sven exclaimed : " Let us now haste 
to our ships, for there goes Ormen Långa surely." 
But Erik Jarl replied : '* There are more large and fine 
ships in Norway than Ormen Långa, and so we may 
yet tarry awhile." The men then spoke amongst them- 
selves saying : " Erik Jarl does not dare to fight and 
revenge his father's death ;'' but the Jarl gave no heed 
to their words. Awhile after this came three ships, 
among which was a large gilt Dragon-ship. Then King 
Sven stood up and said : " Ormen Långa shall carry 
me far to-night, for her will 1 steer ?^ On which Jarl 
Erik said so loud that many heard it : ^^ Had King Olof 
no more and larger ships than those which now are 
seen, Sven Tweskägg with his might has no chance of 
conquering them;" but this ship was Ormen Korta. 
At the same moment, three great vessels came sailing 
from behind the promontory, and after them followed 
a fourth, an enormous and magnificent Dragon-ship, 
whose match in size and splendour they had never seen 
before. It was painted and gilt all over, and so long 
that there were eight and fifty oars on each side, and 
was besides so lofty that its deck stood high out of the 
water. There was then no ftirther dispute, for all saw 
that this was Ormen Långa, and it is said that many 
who had before spoken great words became silent at 
this sight, and forgot further to urge Jarl Erik to the 
attack ; but he now ordered his people to haste to the 
fleet, and all hurried down preparing themselves for 
the fight. 



OLOF tbyggwason's pbeparation. 

Jarl Sigwald, who was acting as pilot for the Nor- 
wegian King, let his sails drop as he advanced and 
rowed in under the island of Swolder. The captains of 
the other large vessels seeing this also lowered their 
sails, waiting till Olof Tryggwason was come up; for 
they feared they were betrayed, and at the same mo- 
ment that Ormen Långa sailed in under the island, 
the united fleets of the enemy rowed forward to meet 
him. Some of his people then opined that Olof ought 
to retreat, and not to engage with such superior 
numbers ; but the King mounted the stem, and cried 
aloud : " Lower the sails ! I have never fled, and God 
may dispose of my life, but I shall never fly V^ He 
ordered that they should lash their ships together 
which was done, and the prows of Tranan and Ormen 
Korta, were bound to that of Ormen Långa. When 
the King saw this, he objected to it, saying, that the 
stern of Ormen Långa should project as far beyond the 
other vessels as she was longer than they. When Ulf, 
the Stambo, heard this, he said : ** In this way the prow 
of Ormen Länga will soon be mastered.^^ Then an- 
swered the King: " I did not know that I had a Stambo 
who was a coward.'* Ulf answered : ^^ Defend you 
the stern to-day, only as I shall defend the prow.^' 
Then the King being angry, laid an arrow on his bow 
and aimed at Ulf; but Ulf said : " Shoot rather at 
others. King, for that is needed now ! I shall do mj 
best." After that, the ships were bound together, and 
the prow of Ormen Långa was made to project beyond 
the others as the King had commanded. 


Olof Tryggwason stood high in the stem of his vessel, 

and was seen above all the rest. He had a gilt helmet 

tod shield as well as a short red cloak over his coat of 

maiU and was thus distinguished from all except 

Kolbjörn Stallare who was dressed very like him. The 

enemy^s fleets had by this time drawn up in line of 

battle in three divisions. Olof Tryggwason asked: 

** Who is chief of that fleet which lies just opposite to 

me ?^^ and the people answered it was Sven Tweskägg 

with the Danish troops. The King observed : '^ We do 

not fear that tender people, for the Danes have no 

courage ; but who are those advancing to the right ?'^ 

He was told that it was Olof Skötkonung with the 

Swedish force. The King said : ^^ Better would it be 

that the Swedes should sit at home and lick their bowls 

of sacrifice than try to mount Ormen Långa with their 

arms. But who are those who steer the ships to the 

left?^^ The people said: "That is Jarl Erik and his 

men.^' Then said the King: **He has a lawful cause 

of fight against us, and there will be a hard battle for 

they are Normen like ourselves.^^ But of Jarl Erik's 

ship, it is said that it was very large and called Jem- 

barden, as the whole prow was bound round about 

with iron and sharp points. 



The Kings now arranged themselves in this manner. 
King Sven sailed against Olof Tryggwason ; Olof 
Skötkonung attacked the ships furthest to the right, 
and Erik Jarl those to the left, but Jarl Sigwald held 
himself apart and had no share in the battle, which was 


very severe. The Stambos on the Tranan, Ormen 
Långa and Korta hooked King Sven -s ships to their 
own and so held them fast. As the Norwegians stood 
very high on their ships in comparison with the Danes, 
these latter could but ill-defend themselves against the 
blows of the former, and the foremost ships were 
speedily cleared. Sven Tweskägg and the rest who 
escaped with life, leapt on their other ships and rowed 
them beyond the reach of the Norwegians, thinking 
this sport went rather against them. Then Olof Sköt- 
konung and his ships turned against Ormen Liånga, 
and it is related in a few words that the same ill-fortune 
attended him as Sven, and that he was obliged to 
steer clear of the Norwegians. Jarl Erik meanwhile 
had cleared several of the outer vessels, and as soon as 
this was done, he hewed them loose from the Norwe- 
gian fleet, and thus continued fighting hand to band, 
while the Swedish and Danish fleet lay round about 
assailing the Norwegians with their bows and arrows ; 
and as soon as the men had fallen on his ship, they 
were replaced by a new company from the other 
vessels. Finally the Norwegians began to spring from 
the smaller upon the larger vessels, and thus the Jarl 
continued until he had at last removed all the vessels 
except Ormen Långa on which the remainder of the 
Northmen had crowded, and alongside of which he laid 
his own vessel Jernbarden when the most raging fight 
recommenced. The Northmen were so irritated that 
many, in their zeal to attack theirenemies, forgotthatthey 
were at sea, and leaping overboard fell into the water. 
King Olof stood the whole day in the stem fight ; 
manfully, chiefly by throwing the lance, for he was ► 
practised in this that he could throw with both hand : 
one time. He saw how his men were dealing hard 1 


thick blows, but remarking that few of the enemies fell 
before them, he called to ask the reason of it, or if his 
men struck false? But his men answered that their 
swords were blunted in the fight, and were serviceable 
no longer. The King then opened his chest of arms, 
and gave the people new and sharp swords, so the fight 
was renewed ; but as he stooped to take the arms out 
of the chest, the men remarked that blood ran from 
under his armour, by which they understood that he 
was wounded. Enar Tambaskelfwer used his bow the 
whole day, and laid many men low. He remarked how 
Jarl Erik stood on Jembarden and shot at him ; but 
the arrow went close by the Jarl's head, and passed 
rigbt through the tiller and the ropes that were 
wrapped about it. The Jarl looked round and asked 
if any knew who shot so hard ? At the word, the second 
afTOW came, and passing between his side and his arm 
flew through a thick board. Then the Jarl perceived 
whence the shot came, and said, therefore, to a notable 
Finlandish archer : " Shoot that long man who stands 
at the mast of Ormen Langa for me.^' A,s Enar 
stretched his bow the third time, the Fin's arrow cut 
through his bow-string. "What is that which ex- 
ploded so loud ?^* asked Olof Tryggwason. " Norway 
out of thy hands. King !" answered Enar. *' God rules 
for land and kingdom and not your bow,*' retunied 
Olof 5 " take my bow and shoot with it !" and threw 
his bow to Enar. Enar took the bow, stretched it, and 
bent it up and down, saying : ^^ Too weak, all too weak 
is the King's bow V^ so he threw it back to Olof, and 
taking shield and sword, continued the battle with them 
as long as he was able. 

Under the showers of lances and arrows from the 
united fleets, the men began to fall on Ormen Långa, 

VOL. I. H 


so that the ship was empty here and there at the sides. 
Then Jarl Erik; together with fifty men^ leapt on board; 
but when the Stambos Ulf, the Red, and Hyrning saw 
this, they rushed forward with some warriors from the 
stern, and met the Jarl so stoutly that most of his men 
fell, the rest were wounded, and he himself obliged to 
jump down backwards into his own vessel. The 
former fight with arrows and lances was then renewed, 
which caused the fall of many of the men on Ormen 
Långa, and finally that of the Stambos Ulf, the Red, 
and Hyrning, after they had long and well defended 
the stern. The ranks now began to be very much 
thinned on Ormen Långa, so that Erik with many of 
his men was able to gain her deck again, neither coTiId 
the remaining handful of men make a sufficient resist- 
ance but retired to the stem. There stood King Olof 
towering above all, so that he was easily recognised 
and became the aim of countless an^ows and lances ; but 
he parried them with his shield, hacked as it was with 
many blows. He killed many of the enemy himself 
by throwing spears, and it is said by all, that never did 
a King so valiantly expose himself to the shot of the 
enemy as did Olof Tryggwason on this occa3ion. Mean- 
while, a great number of Erik's men had again got on 
board Ormen Långa, and were urging their way on- 
wards towards the King. Though the remainder of 
OloPs men were brave and strong, they had now to do 
with such superior numbers that they were soon killed, 
and eight men only remained around the King. He 
then raised his shield above his head, and plunged into 
the sea. His men did the same, among whom we 
Kolbjörn Stallare, Enar Tambaskelfwer, and the King 
brother, Torkel Nefia, the last who leapt overboa 
They intended to save themselves by swimming, } 


were prevented by Jarl Erik's boats. Those who 
picked up Kolbjörn were very glad, thinking they had 
got the King, as Kolbjörn resembled him in his figure 
and dress; but when he was taken to Jarl Erik, he 
discovered the mistake, but granted both Kolbjörn and . 
the others their lives. King Olof Tryggwason was 
sought for in vain : he was never found. Some 
thought that exhausted by wounds he was drowned ; 
others again say, that when Astrid, Jarl Sigwald's wife, 
heard of her husband's treachery towards him, she 
armed a little ship to his aid and lay with it at hand 
during the fight. When the King leapt overboard, 
they say that he took off his armour under the water, 
and afterwards swam to Astrid's vessel which took him 
up, and immediately sailed ofiF. He never afterwards 
desired to return to Norway, but wandered southwards 
to Rome, and finally to Jorsala* where he lived long in 
a monastery. None know the full truth of this, but 
certain it is, that he was never more seen in the North. 
Queen Tyri so lamented his death, that she would 
neither eat nor drink, but died on the ninth day ; and 
those of King OloPs fleet who sailed before had great 
remorse and repentance that they had abandoned their 
chief; and it was a general saying that such a King 
would never again reign in Norway. 


CLOP skotkonung's baptism. 

Norway was now divided into three parts. Swen 
Tweskägg got one, Jarl Erik another, and Olof Sköt- 
konung the third. Jarl Erikas brother, Jarl Swen, was 

* Jerusalem. 

H 2 



r, aiM 
tion of 

married to Holmfrid, Olof Skotkonung's daughter^ 
was by his father-in-law appointed to rule his portic 

After the death of Ansgarius, Christianity had been 
•neglected in Sweden, till at this time Sigfrid^ a priest 
from York, came over and established himself at Weyio, 
in Småland, beginning to preach there. Olof Skötko- 
nung was baptized by him at Husaby Well in West 
Gothland a.d. 1001 ; and is thus the first Christian 
King in Sweden. As he was now unable to superintend 
the great sacrifice in the heathen temple of Upsala, he 
laid aside the title hitherto borne by . his ancestors of 
Upsala King, and called himself Sweats King instead. 
He held a brilliant and magnificent Court, and was 
himself of a proud, selfish, and imperious disposition 
like his mother Sigrid Storråda. He was, however^ not 
given to war, and permitted the enemy, without any 
opposition, to seize all the countries round the Golf of 
Finland which his father Erik the Victorious had added 
to the crown of Sweden. 



Harald Grenske, the petty King of one of the 
Norwegian tribes who had been burnt by Sigrid Stor- 
råda, left a son called Olof, who was baptized in his 
childhood and brought up in Norway. He became a 
very brave and sensible man, and distinguished bey ' 
most others of his time. He was not tall, but 
very thick and strong growth, for which reason w 
he was older, he got the name of Olof Tjocke or 
Thick. He began early the trade of arms^ and 


first expedition was against Sweden^ as his father had 
been murdered there. He overcame a Viking named 
Sote at Sotaskär in Södermanland^ and afterwards 
sailed up the Norrström or Northstream into the Lake 
Malar^ and began to ravage its shores ; but Olof Sköt- 
konung shut up the mouth of the lake by stretching 
strong iron chains across the stream^ between the 
Biddarholm (which was therefore long known by the 
name of Kedjeskär^ or Chain Island) and Norrmalm 
the opposite shore^ and filling it with stocks and stones 
so that it could not be niivigated. Moreover^ he sent 
a number of troops to watch it, intending to shut in 
Olof Haraldson, for at this time Lake Malar had but 
one mouth. When in the autumn Olof sought to re- 
turn^ he found the exit closed, and heard besides that 
Olof Skötkonung had collected a great army to attack 
him, and now he thought good counsel would be pre- 
cious. The water was very high in the lake, and 
increasing continually by heavy rains which fell at that 
time. Olof Haraldson then hit on the expedient of one 
liight making his people secretly cut through a narrow 
neck of land between the Malar and the sea, south of 
Stockholm. In the morning, he removed all the rud- 
ders from his ships, and before the Swedes could re- 
mark or prevent it^ sailed with a sweeping wind through 
the canal and over the shallows^ and so came fortunately 
out to sea^ and continuing his depredations forced the 
Islanders of Gothland to pay him tribute. Olof Sköt- 
konung was much enraged at the carelessness of his 
people when it was no longer time to prevent it, but 
from that time forth he began to entertain a great 
hatred for Olof Haraldson, never mentioning him but 
by the name of Olof Tjocke. 




After Olof Haraldson had gained great glory and 
renown in other expeditions which do not regard our 
history, he sailed to Norway to reconquer his fiather's 
dominions. Jarl Erik had at that time died on an 
expedition to England, so that the chief defence of the 
country was gone. Many people besides disliked the 
land being divided between so many foreign Princes, for 
which reason Olof Haraldson had no difficulty in getting 
many adherents, and driving away the newly»appointed 
governors. Jarl Swen, who governed his father-in-law 
Olof Skötkonung*s portion of Norway, was obliged to 
fly to Sweden with Enar Tambaskelfwer and many other 
men. When the King heard this, he was greatly wrath 
against Olof Haraldson threatening to punish him for 
it. "Nevertheless,^ added he, "it is not likely Olof 
the Thick will venture to attack the lands that belong 
to me.'^ In this his courtiers likewise agreed, but in 
spite of the prediction, Olof Haraldson subdued the 
whole of Norway to himself, and Olof Skötkonting^s 
threats of punishment were never put into execution. 
He only sent some men to Norway to exact the rates, 
but when these would not peaceably retrace their steps, 
Olof Haraldson took them up and hung them. This 
enraged Olof Skötkonung yet the more, and now no 
one at the Swedish Court dared to speak of Olof 
Haraldson otherwise than under the name of OJ^^ 
Tjocke. The animosity of the two Kings was cam 
out by skirmishes and plundering on the frontiers^ 
which both kingdoms suffered much. The peoj 
finally interceded with their sovereigns for peace; Q] 
Skötkonung would not hear of it, but Olof Harald- 


formed an alliance with Jarl Ragwald in Gothland, so 
that there was peace between that part of Sweden and 
the South of Norway, Olof Haraldson then sent a 
message to Olof Skötkonung proposing peace, and 
suing for his daughter, the Princess Ingegerd, in mar- 
riage ; but though the Princess herself was inclined for 
this^ her father would not hear of either offers. Jarl 
Ragwald then promised to travel with Björn Stallare, 
Olof Haraldson's Ambassador to Upsala, and at the 
Allsharja^Ting seek to forward this matter. Before 
the Ting, however, they visited Torgny, Judge of 
Tjundaland, in Upland, a highly considered and res- 
pected old man, and the same who had assisted Erik 
Segersall at the Battle of Fyriswall. He was now 
very old^ and his beard so long that it covered his 
whole body and reached down to his knees when he 
sat on his judgment*seat. Björn Stallare and his 
<x>mpanion thought they had never seen such a vene« 
rable and majestic man. Jarl Ragwald related to 
Torgny how all had passed, and told him of Olof 
Skotkonung's pride and implacability, asking Torgny^a 
advice as to their behaviour at the Ting. Torgny wasi 
silent awhile, and finally spoke : ^^ It is wonderful that 
you should wish to bear such high titles, and yet not 
know what courjie to pursue when a difficulty presents 
itself* Why did you promise to take this matter on 
yourself without reflecting that you have not power 
enough to venture to speak against King Olof? To 
me it appears better to be counted amongst the peasants 
ais I am, and be free in word to speak what one will, 
even if the King himself were present. I will, however, 
go with you to Upsala Ting to give you succour, that 
you may, without fear, speak out to the King what 
you desire.*' The Jarl thanked him for this promise ; 
^fter which they armed and rode together to Upsala. 




People from the whole kingdom were now collected 
in Upsala« On the one side sat Olof Skötkonung on 
his throne^ and all his Court stood around him. On 
the other side sat Jarl Ragwald and Judge Torgny^ and 
before them the Jarl's courtiers and the Judge's body- 
servants. Beside them on the mounds and the fields 
stood the people to hear what was done. When 
according to custom the King's affairs had been first 
settled^ Björn Stallare arose from his seat beside the 
Jarl^ and began to present Olof Haraldson's embassage, 
and speak of peace and amity between the two coun- 
tries. He spoke so loud that not only the King him- 
self^ but all the people also heard every word he said. 
But as soon as Olof Skötkonung perceived the drift of 
his harangue^ he rose^ hastily calling out^ that it was 
wasting words, and that that man should be silent 
Björn was then obliged to cease, and to re-seat himself. 
Then Jarl Ragwald stood up, and set forth Olof Harald- 
son's proposal of peace and courtship of the Princess 
Ingegerd ; he also spoke of how all West Gothland long- 
ed for peace, partly because the Normen robbed them of 
the provisions they were expecting by sea, and partly be- 
cause they lived in continual fear and uncertainty by the 
invasions and marauding excursions which ruined their 
frontier. When the Jarl had made an end, the Ki'^'» 
arose again and reproached him with having condud 
peace with that fat man without his consent, for whi 
treachery he well deserved punishment. The Ki: 
spoke both long and roughly, turning his speech 
last with many contemptuous expressions against 01 


Haraldson. After he had done^ he seated himself and 
a general silence followed. 

Then rose Judge Torgny, and with him the whole 
multitude ; and a great noise and uproar ensued from 
the people wanting to press round to hear what Torgny 
would say. When silence was restored, he began his 
speech thus : 

' *^ Sweats Kings are diflFerent in character now to 

what they were in former times. My grandfather, 

Torgny, could well remember Erik Emundson, atid 

related of him, how in his earliest years, he went in 

arms each summer round divers lands, subduing Finland, 

Kjnrialand, Estonia, Courland, and many other countries 

to the eastward, and how the fortresses and other great 

works he had made could yet be seen. But he was not, 

however, so proud but that he could endure the words 

of those who had matters of moment to lay before him. 

My father, Torgny, was a long time with King Björn, 

and knew his mode of living well. King Bjöm*s 

kingdom stood also during his whole life-time with great 

might and strength, and without any deficiency, for 

he was friendly towards all his men. I have also a 

good memory of King Erik Segersäll, and have been 

with him on many expeditions. He increased the 

kingdom of Sweden, and defended it mightily ; and yet 

it was easy for us to discourse and take council with 

him. But this King, whom we now have, will not 

permit any one to speak with him on anything but 

what he himself chooses, and intends with all energy 

to pursue. His tributaries, through feebleness and 

unworthiness, he permits to escape him. Nevertheless 

he chooses to retain the kingdom of Norway under 

his dominion, which no King in Sweden has evet 

before pretended to do ; for which cause many sit in 

H 3 


disquietude. Now it is our, the peasants* will, that 
thou King Olof make peace with Olof Tjocke, the King 
of Norway; and that thou give him thy daughter 
Ingegerd to wife. And if thou shouldst wish to reconquer 
the countries to the east which thy friends and fore- 
fathers possessed, we will all accompany thee for that 
end. But if thou wilt not agree to that which we now 
speak, we will fall upon and kill thee, and on no account 
longer endure disorder and dispeace. So have our 
forefathers done, who at Mulating threw five Kings into 
a well who were puffed up with pride and vanity as 
thou now art. Say now immediately which of the two 
thou wilt accept ?** The people on this made much 
uproar and clashing of arms ; but the King arose and 
said, that he would give way to the will of the peasants 
as all the Kings of Sweden had done before him. 
Then the uproar ceased, and the chiefs went together 
and concluded peace with the Norwegian Ambassadors 
on the conditions which Olof Haraldson had proposed, 
so that the Princess Ingegerd was then promised to 



Olof Skötkonung had first by a concubine from 
Windland, a son named Emund and a daughter Astrid. 
He had afterwards by his Queen, a daughter, Ingegerd, 
and a son called Jacob at his baptism, from having b'*"" 
born on St. Jacob's day. The Queen could not enc 
her step- children, for which reason they were brou 
up at a distance : Emund, in Windland, and Astrid ^ 
Jarl Ragwald. 


In the spring following the reconciliation at the 
Upsala Ting, Olof Haraldson set out with a great suite 
for the frontiers, where according to agreement he was 
to meet his hride. But when he had long waited in 
vain^ and the summer was far advanced, he sent messen- 
gers to Jarl Ragwald inquiring the reason of this delay. 
The Jarl had by that time received intimation from 
Upsala, that the King intended to break his promise 
solemnly given, and marry Ingegerd to King Jarislaw 
in Gardarikej he therefore of his own accord sent 
messengers to Olof Haraldson relating this, and at 
the same time offering him Astrid in the place of 
Iijgegerd. As Astrid was far renowned both for beauty, 
mildness^ and great sense, Olof Haraldson agreed, and 
met the Jarl at the former rendezvous Where the mar- 
riage with Astrid was celebrated without her father 
being consulted. This displeased him highly ; but when 
the Princess Ingegerd set out to go to Russia, she 
took Jarl Ragwald with her and rescued him from her 
father's rage-. 

The people were so irritated against Olof Skötkonung 
on account of all these events, that a great rebellion 
broke out, which the King's friends could only quiet 
by making Jacob co-regent with his father; and as the 
people did not like his christian name of Jacob, he 
was now called Anund, which name he afterwards re- 
tained. Olof Skötkonung was forced to travel to meet 
Olof Haraldson and conclude peace with him ; who, thus 
compelled, was gentle and mild in speech towards every 




Whbn Olof Haraldson had reigned many years in 
Norway^ the peasants began to be displeased with him 
because he was very severe and arbitrary in his govern- 
ment, and laid on heavy penalties and fines, frequently 
mutilating or executing those who would not embrace 
the Christian religion ; therefore many of the most 
powerful among them turned to King Knut, the Rich, 
(Canute) who at this time reigned over Denmark and 
England. He received them well, and sent besides 
messengers to Norway with money and presents with 
which the chief Normen were bribed ; so that when 
Canute arrived the following summer with a large fleet, 
the whole population joined him, and Olof Haraldson 
was obliged to fly the country. He then crossed through 
Sweden on his way to Russia where he sought refiige 
with King Jarislaw and Queen Ingegerd ; and Canute 
set Jarl Håkan as governor over Norway ; but he was 
drowned in the course of a year. Then some of Olof 
Haraldson's friends went to Russia and counselled him 
to return and re-conquer his former kingdom as it was 
without a chief. He followed their advice, and again 
crossed through Sweden. Olof Skötkonung was now 
dead, and Anund Jacob sole King. He gave Olof one' 
hundred of his men, and permission besides to muster 
as many Swedes as would accompany him. Olof then 
passed through the province of Dalecarlia towa«l« 
Trondheim, and had collected a body of three thous 
men. But the peasants in Norway had also coUec 
against him in much greater numbers. Their cl 
leader was Kalf Amason, who had been before in f 


Haraldson's service. Then there was Torer Hund, a 
remarkable leader amongst the peasants. Instead of 
armour, he wore rein-deer skin all over his body, which 
the people imagined was so charmed that no sword 
could pierce it. This Torer Hund brought with him 
many able-bodied men, and had vowed to fight with 
no one before he came to exchange blows with the 
King himself. Torsten Skeppsmed joined himself also 
to Torer to fight against King Olof, and by this means 
to revenge himself for the great fines the King had 
formerly imposed upon him. 



The night before the battle, the King with all his 
army passed on the field. It is related that night he 
slept little, but spent it mostly in watching and prayer 
to God for himself and his people. Towards morning, 
a light slumber came over him ; but at the dawning he 
awoke, and as it seemed too early to call up the troops, 
he asked: "Where Tormoder Kolbrunar, the Bard, waa?^^ 
Tormoder was dose beside him, and asked what the 
King wanted ? Olof desired him to sing a song for the 
troops. Tormoder then raised himself and began to 
sing so loud that he was heard by the whole army. 
The words were a Réveillée, and concluded by saying 
that " he awoke them not to the wine cups nor to the 
endearments of women, but to the hard game of sword 
and spear.^^ 

The troops awoke at this song ; and as soon as Tor- 
moder had finished, the men thanked him for his music 


and praised it. The King likewise thanked him and 
gave him a gold ring weighing half a pound. 

Olof then caused his troops to march to Sticklarstad. 
A man came to him there who was a head taller than 
all the rest^ very fair to look upon, apparelled in costly 
garments^ and carried very precious arms. He offered 
the King his service, saying he was from Helsingland, 
and was called Amliot Oellina. The King asked if 
Arnliot was a Christian ? He answered : ^^ I have till 
now only trusted to my own strength and power, and 
this faith hath helped me; but now. King, I intend 
rather to trust to thee.*' The King answered : " If 
thou believest in me, thou must also believe in what I 
teach thee, that Jesus Christ has formed Heaven and 
earth, and all mankind, and that to him all the pious and 
faithful will one day come.'* Arnliot said : " Truly I 
have heard speak of the White Christ; but nothing of 
his power or might is known to me. Now, however, I 
will believe what thou sayest and let thee direct me." 
On this Arnliot was baptized, and set foremost in the 
King's army. 

The King had to wait awhile with his people, for 
the peasants were not yet come up. He sat meanwhile 
and bent his head in Finn Arnason's lap, and thus a 
good sleep fell upon him ; but when the peasant troops 
approached, Finn woke up the King. He was dis- 
pleased at this, and said that Finn had disturbed him in 
a good dream. He had dreamt that he was mounting 
through the air on a ladder which reached to the very 
Heavens ; but just as he was on the upper step, Finn 
awoke him. Finn answered : "This dream is not 
good as thou mayest think, but would rather seer- 
bode thy death, if indeed it is anything but a decep 
of sleep.'* 


The King now prepared himself, and set his people 
in array of battle. He was dressed himself in a shirt 
of mail, had a gilt helmet on his head, a halberd in one 
hand, and in the other a white shield with a cross inlaid 
in gold upon it. The man who bore the King^s banner 
was called Torder, and a wall of the bravest men were 
placed around it. Within this fortress he had likewise 
placed the bards with orders to pay the strictest atten- 
tion to what took place in the fight, that they might 
afterwards sing it. After this he encouraged his people 
to attack the peasants with violence in the beginning, 
and thus bring them if possible to flight. " For,'^ said 
the King, " if they get time to their assistance, it is 
probable with their great numbers that they may van- 
quish us." 

The whole peasant troop now advanced, and Torer 
Hund with his people went in front. He then gave 
the word to the troops, crying : ** On, on, peasant 
men!'^ which cry the peasants repeated aloud, dis- 
charging their arrows, and throwing their lances at the 
same time. The King's men then answered this with 
the watchword which the King had given, viz : " On, 
on, Christ^s men. Cross men. King's men, on, onP^ 
and so advanced stoutly against the peasants. But 
when the peasants on the extreme flanks of the wings 
heard the shout of the King's troops, they thought it 
was their own, and began therefore also to cry and 
shout, "Christ's men. Cross men. King's men, on, onl" 
When the other peasants heard this, they attacked 
them believing them to be King's people, thus a sharp 
combat took place between the peasants themselves 
before the mistake was discovered. 

King Olof had placed his people on a height, whence 
his men rushed down on the peasants with such vio- 


lenoe that they began to yield, and the Bang's choice 
reserve in the centre drove the centre of the peasant 
army backwards. Many of them were then ready to 
fly; but their commanders encouraging and inciting 
them to bravery, got them to stand their ground and 
make a stout resistance; those vfho were in advance 
used their swords and axes, those who stood in the 
next row behind attacked with their spears, and those 
beyond them again shot arrows and tiirew lances and 

It is related in old chronicles, that this day was in 
the beginning very bright and clear, but when the fight 
began, a redness and a cloud drew itself over the sky; 
and that it afterwards became black as night which 
darkness continued till the King's death. 

King Olof advanced from within the fortress of 
his banner and fought valiantly, felling many of the 
peasants ; but these pressed violentiy forward so that 
the struggle was constantiy renewed. A peasant, 
Torger of Qwistestad, advanced towards the King, but 
he gave Torger so hard a blow that he cleft his helmet 
and head in two. At the same moment, Torder struck 
the King's banner-staff with such violence into the 
ground that it stood fast; for Torder had now received 
his death-wound, and fell dead beside his banner. 
Many other of the King's men fell on the same spot, 
so that the space began to clear round King Olof. 
Torer Hund now advanced towards him, and they began 
exchanging blows ; but the King's sword took no effect 
upon Torer, therefore he called to Björn Stallare, " Beat 
you the dog* since iron will not wound him !^* Bj' 
then with his hammer gave Torer a hard blow betw* 

• Hund, Dog. 


äie shoulders^ so that he staggered, but soon recovering 
himself he pointed his spear so justly that it went right 
through the body of Björn, saying, at the same tkne^ 
''This is the way we bite the Bears.i" Björn Stallare fell 
dead of this wound, and the Eong meanwhile had killed 
one of the peasants. At the same moment, Torsten 
Skeppsmed advanced on him, and gave him a blow 
with his axe which went deep into his left side. Finn 
Amason killed Torsten Skeppsmed on the spot; but 
the King su£fered much from his wound, bowed himself 
against a stone, threw away his sword, and prayed God 
to help him. Torer Hund came at the moment and 
pierced him with his lance, so that the King fell down 
and died. By this time, the greater number of those 
who had advanced with him had fallen around him. A 
part of his troops which had come up too late, now 
attacked the peasants and recommenced a more violent 
fight than before ; but when they heard that the King 
was dead, they lost all hope, and turning, some fled 
towards Sweden, while others sought protection with 
friends and relations in Norway. 



ToBMODBR had been in the battle among the Bards 
round King Olof^s banner. When the peasants made 
thdr first attack, he was so badly wounded that he was 
not able to wield his arms. An arrow came and flew 
deep into his left side. Tormoder broke off the arrow- 
head in the wound, and went afterwards to a large 

• Björn» Bear. 


hottse in which the wounded were collected^ A 
called Kimbe met him there. Kimbe said, ^Here 
is a most deplorable noise, and it is a great shame that 
strong men cannot better bear their wounds/^ Then 
observing on Tormoder's arm the ring which the King 
had given him in the morning, he said to him : ^^ Thou 
art very surely a King's man ; but give me thy ling^ 
and I shall hide thee out of the way of die peasants/' 
Tormoder answered: ^^Take the ring if thou <»inst^ 
for I have lost more now than it is worth I'' Tormoder 
bore his naked sword in his hand, and as EHimbe 
stretched forth his hand for the ring, he swang bis 
sword and cut o£f the hand ; and it is said tliat Kimbe 
groaned as much from the pain of his wound, as did 
tiiose whom he had mocked before. Tormoder entered 
a cottage where a woman was busied in tending the 
wounded. She begged him to carry in wood to lay 
on the fire ; he did so, but when he advanced in the 
fire-light, the woman said : " This man is very pale*-^ 
whence comes it P' Tormoder answered in verse : 

^^ Thou wonderest, woman, to see me so pale. Wounds 
make few beautiful, and I have met the flying arrow. 
The grinding brass went through me, and the sharp 
iron sits in my heart.*' 

The women said : " Let me see thy wounds, and I 
shall bind them." He sat down, and, throwing off his 
armour, let her examine them. She offered him a 
draught to drink which was composed of leeks^ and 
other herbs, but he said, ^^ Take it away again ; drugs 
cannot cure me!" She then tried' with pincers to 
draw out the iron ; but she could not, neither could 
get a good hold of it, for the wound was much sweP 
Tormoder said: *^Cut the flesh first from round 
iron that it can be got at with the tongs, and then 



me pull it out/^ This done, he drew the ring oflF his 
arm and giving it to the woman, said: ^^ Do with it 
what thou wilt; but truly a good man owned it, for 
King Olof gave . it to me this morning/* Then he 
grasped the tongs and wrenched out the arrow-head. 
But there were hooks and barbs on the iron on which 
pieces of his heart came out, some red, and some 
white. Tormoder looked at them, and said : " Well 
did the King feed us; fat are my heart's roots ;*' fell 
down to the earth with these words, and was dead. 



Olof Haraldson was afterwards worshipped as a 
saint, and the monks have related many miracles which 
he is said to have worked. After Anund Jacob, his 
elder brother Emund the Old reigned, who died with- 
out sons, and was thus the last King in Sweden of 
Iwar Widfamnes' race. 



»art ». 






After the extinction of the Iwarska dynasty by the 
death of Emund the Old, a.d. 1061. Jarl Stenkil 
succeeded him, and became the founder of a new 
djrnasty. This Stenkil was of high descent, being the 
son of Jarl Ragwald Ulfson, and great grandson of 
Skoglar Toste. His mother descended from the Yng- 
lingar race, and was after the death of Jarl Ragwald 
married to Emund the Old, so that Stenkil became 
that icing's step-son. Stenkil himself was a remark- 
ably tall and very strong man ; no one in the whole 
kingdom could shoot so well with the bow as he. He 
was bold and undaunted in fight ; but also of a mild, 
prudent, and peaceful character ; he was moreo 
renowned for his justice in council, though he w 
accounted to have favoured the West Oothlanders ' 
yond any other of his subjects; because his fatht 
family had their origin in that province. 




King Stenkil had himself embraced Christianity^ and 
favouring it much in his time, it was widely preached 
throughout Sweden. St. David in Munktorp preached 
to the Westmanlanders ; St. Adalward, the elder, was 
Bishop in Skara, and converted the Wermlanders ; St. 
Stephen went towards Norrland, preached there and 
converted the Helsingars ; but as he conducted himself 
violently, tearing down and destroying the idols, he 
was at last murdered by the heathen at Mordback in 
Tynnebro Forest between Gestrikeland and Helsing- 
land. He was buried in Norrala Church, and the 
peasantry there still sing many songs about him under 
the name of Stephen Stalldräng, or Hillebror Staffan. 
Adalward, the younger, was ordained by the Archbishop 
of Bremen, Bishop of Sigtuna, where he had so much 
success in the beginning of his ministration, that he 
got at one mass seventy marks* of silver at the collec- 
tion. But Bishop Egino was the most celebrated of 
them all. Two Bishoprics were founded in Skåne at 
this time : the one in Dalby, the other in Lund. Egino 
was the first Bishop of Dalby, and Henrik of Lund. 
This Henrik had before been the chaplain of the Kings 
of Denmark and having collected great riches, when he 
became Bishop lived in luxury and idleness. He died 
at last of excess in drinking, and Egino was then ap- 
pointed Bishop both of Lund and Dalby. He was a 
zealous and pious man, and converted the heathen in 
Bleking and Bornholm, preaching to them so earnestly, 
that with tears of remorse for their former errors, they 
broke their idols, and brought him all their gold and 

* A mark, eight ounces of gold or silver. 


silver. He did not accept it, but bade them employ 
it for the building of Churches, providing for the poor, 
and ransoming the prisoners who had been taken by 
the Vikings in their expeditions. To make an end of 
the heathen idolatry in the land^ he entered at last into 
an agreement with Adalward, the younger, in Sigtuna, 
to bum the great Temple of Upsala. They communi- 
cated their plan to King Stenkil, who advised them 
against it, saying the Pagans, irritated in consequence, 
would kill the Christian teachers, drive himself away, 
and force those who had already embraced Christianity 
to return to the worship of idols. By this means their 
intention of firing the temple was not carried into 
execution ; but the heathens, who had heard of the plan, 
were highly incensed at it, and after the death of 
Stenkil broke into a rebellion, in which all the Christians 
in the country suffered much, and Adalward was 
obliged to fly to West Gothland, which he afterwards 
left for Bremen. Egino, however, continued his 
preaching boldly, made occasional excursions to West 
Gothland, encouraging the Christians there, who were 
without a preacher, as their Bishops, Acilius and 
Tadicus, who had been appointed by the Pope, pre- 
ferred living in ease and profusion in their Monasteries 
in Germany to exposing themselves to the troubles 
and dangers attendant upon the dissemination of 
Christianity in a heathen country. But Egino was 
never appalled ; he even broke an image of Frigga 
at one place in West Gothland, and continued preach- 
ing boldly everywhere till his death. 

In this manner the Christian religion became gradu 
known throughout the whole kingdom, and many rr 
cles are related of the Christian teachers. St. Davi \ 
said once to have hung up his gloves on a sunbf 
which, his eyes being weakened by age and weer 


he took for a nail, aad where his servants, who came 
afterwards to seek for them, found them still hanging. 
Adalward, the elder, was said to get rain and sunshine 
from God whenever he prayed for them ; and the West 
Gotha peasantry were much devoted to him. 

St. Botwid was born of heathen parents in Ham- 
marby, near Stockholm ; but on a commercial voyage 
to England, he was converted to Christianity which 
he afterwards preached in his native place. He wished 
once to drag his net on his neighbour Howe's shore, 
but Bowe refused unless the half of the draught was 
allotted to him. Botwid then removed to his own 
shore, where after fervent prayers he is said to have 
got his whole net full of fishes, which he divided freely 
amongst those who had meanwhile dragged their nets 
in. vain on the opposite side. Neither was he angry 
with Bowe for his avarice, but wished him all that was 
good ; and by his gentleness was much loved, and had 
great success in his ministry. He had ransomed and 
baptised a Russian slave, whom he intended to send 
back to his own country ; but when stopping at Räg 
Island in Lake Malar, when St. Botwid had fallen 
asleep under a tree, he was murdered by this man. 
When his relations missed him, they took ship and 
began seeking for him in every direction. It is said 
that a white bird set itself on the prow of their vessel, 
and as it were showed them the. way. They followed 
this guide, and thus found the place where the mur- 
dered Botwid lay. They carried him home with them, 
and as he was afterwards considered a saint, a Church 
was erected over his grave which in honour of him 
was called Botwid's or Bot Church. 

It is also said that Bishop Adalward converted a 
shepherd boy of the name of Torsten who served a 
peasant in West Gothland. When Torsten afterwards 


tended the peasant's cattle in the woods^ he occnpied 
himself the whole day with serious contemplations and 
prayers before a great stone in place of an altar^ per- 
mitting the cattle meanwhile to wander untended 
through the wood. Nevertheless they assembled each 
evening of their own accord, and none of them was 
ever missing. The peasant who was a heathen hated 
Torsten for his Christianity^ and when he could find 
no other cause of complaint against him^ crept secretly 
into the wood, and bound one of the oxen to a tree. 
As this animal was wanting at night, the peasant 
accused the lad, and as a punishment for the crime 
he had invented against him had him sacrificed on the 
same stone where he had held his solitary devotions. 
But from this time forth, the peasant's animals began to 
pine, grew thin, and died, and many thought that this 
was a punishment for the death of the innocent. Once 
as the man had killed an ox, and had already drawn off 
the hide, his wife began again to lament over Torsten's 
death, saying, that he was a saint who now dwelt in 
Heaven. The peasant laughed aloud at this, saying : 
" I no more believe Torsten to be alive now than this 
ox which I am hewing asunder.'' But behold ! at these 
words the killed and flayed ox raised himself suddenly 
on his four legs, thus to the astonishment of all be- 
holders bearing witness to the sanctity of its former 
guardian. A little chapel was afterwards erected on 
this spot to Torsten's honour, where many miracles are 
said to have been performed, especially upon the sick 
cattle of the West Gothland peasantry. 

These, and numberless other stories of this k 
which the ignorant people believed, conduced, h 
certain degree, to procure greater reverence for Ch 
tianity, and exclude the still more absurd legends of 
ancient Mythology. 




At this time a famous chief named Håkan lived in 
Norway. He was considered as brave and able as any 
man^ and had therefore been set over a part of the west 
of Norway, and married to one of the King's relations. 
He afterwards fell into disgrace with his own King, 
Harald Hårdråde^ and being obliged to fly, afterwards 
got a command in Sweden, some say of Halland, others 
of Wermland, whence he often went into Norway and 
collected the revenues of his former fief, the peasants 
preferring paying to him whom they loved than to 
Harald Hårdråde. The King was displeased at this, 
and putting his troops on board light vessels ascended 
the Oota-elf, causing the ships to be carried past the 
great water-falls at TroUhätta, Edet and Ranum, and in 
this manner they entered Lake Wenern. He here 
intended breaking into West Gothland, but Jarl Håkan 
met him with an army, and numbers of the peasantry 
determined to prevent Harald from plundering. Both 
armies stood on a height, and a morass lying between ; 
neither was disposed to make the first attack. Judge 
Torwid, who headed the West Gothlanders, sate before 
ihem on a horse which was bound to a pole stuck into 
the ground. While waiting the commencement of the 
firay^ he encouraged his men with these words : '^ God 
\ knows that we have here collected a great body together, 
I and the greater part of them are able men. Let King 
Stenkil dien hear that we have been a stout help to 
this Jarl. But should any of our young men be afraid 
and not dare to abide, we shall not fly ftirther than to 
that stream yonder ; if more of the youths should fear, 

VOL. I. I 


which I do not believe^ we will fly no farther than to 
yonder height." 

The Norwegian army now set np their war-shout, 
and struck upon their shields which the Swedes 
answered in like manner. The Judge's horse was so 
terrified at this that he reared suddenly^ and wrenched 
out the pole so violently that it struck the Judge on 
the head. He, believing it to be a Norwegian shot, 
^'cursed their shooting/' and made off with himself 
both beyond the stream and the mound. The Ootha- 
men had been summoned in haste, and were therefore 
so ill-provided with clothes that they were shivering 
with cold, the autunm being already advanced, and 
some snow falling, therefore they did not choose to 
wait longer, but rushed across the valley and up the 
other height attacking the Normen. But these re- 
pulsed them stoutly, and though they did not venture 
to follow them far, they cut down great numbers and 
got possession of Jarl Hakan's banner. 

When the Normen returned in the evening to their 
ships, they were passing through so narrow a path in 
the wood that they could only advance one by one. 
Just as the King was asking those nearest him if Jarl 
Håkan had fallen in the battle, he was told that a man 
had rushed out of the forest, cut down the man who 
was carrying Hakan's banner, and made off with it. 
Then said Harald : " Håkan Jarl is yet alive !'* Harald 
had no success in West Gothland after this, for as soon 
as any of his men wandered from the main body, they 
were soon surrounded and killed by hidden enemi 
It is even related that Håkan himself, disguised as 
old beggar, presented himself in Harald's camp, a 
offered to guide them to Håkan Jarl's hiding pla 
Many accompanied him whom he conducted intc 


thick large wood, where they were presently attacked 
and cut down by an ambuscade. Lastly, Lake Wenem 
began to freeze, and it was rumonred that King Stenkil 
was leading a great army from the north to Hakan's 
assistance. Harald, therefore, descended Gotha-elf on 
his way back to Norway as he had mounted it, and 
West Gothland was afterwards free from his attacks. 



Kino Stenkil left two sons, Inge and Halstanathis 
death in 1066; as they were both very young, HakaiK. 
Rufos was named King. Not much is to be said of 
him; and at his death in 1079, Inge became King. 
He was a tall and strong man like his father Stenkil. 
His Queen whose name was Mö was of a high family, 
and her brother Swen stood in high favour at Court. 

This Inge was a very zealous and ardent Christian. 
Like the Kings, his predecessors, he did not choose to 
dwell at Upsala on account of the many heathen sacri- 
fices held there, but preferred to live at Björkö or 
Sigtuna. The former Kings had however almost all of 
them attended the great yearly sacrifices in Upsala, 
which King Inge would by no means do. On the con- 
trary, he sought to prevent the worship of idols as 
much as he could, and ordered his people to embrace 
Christianity. The heathens, much irritated at this, 
appointed a meeting with the King at a Ting, when 
they offered him two conditions, either that he should 
remain faithful to the old law and customs of the coun- 
try as his father King Stenkil had done, or else 
renounce the throne. But King Inge answered boldly, 

I 2 


that he would never abandon the faith and doctrine 
which he considered the best. The peasants then be- 
came angry, and commenced with shouts and cries to 
throw stones upon him driving him by this means 
away from the Ting. 



When King Inge was obliged to fly from Upsala, 
his brother-in-law, Swen, remained there still, and pre- 
senting himself before the enraged peasantry promised 
to retain the sacrifice for them, if they would take him 
for their King. To this they agreed ; and so Swen 
became King over Swea land, and Inge was obliged to 
fly to West Gothland. Swen caused a horse immediately 
to be lead out which was hewn in pieces as a sacrifice, 
and divided amongst the people ; and with the blood, 
the idols were besmeared as was the custom of the 

Shordy after they collected at Strengnäs, which was 
at that time a place of general meeting for sacrifice. 
There they were to render homage to Swen, and a 
great sacrifice was appointed at the same time. In 
Södermanland by Fors, where Eskilstuna is now situat- 
ed, lived at that time a Christian teacher from England 
of the name of Eskil, who was very zealous and eager 
in the conversion of the heatiien. When he received 
news of tiie great sacrifice that was to be held i 
Strengnäs, he hastened thither and arrived as tl 
heathens were in the very midst of their sacrifice, ai 
a great feast was in readiness for the people on t' 
spot where Strengnäs Cathedral now stands. Wh( 


Eskil saw this^ he began violently to reproach them for 
forgetting the only true 6od, and sacrificing to devils 
but as they paid no attention to this^ and much more 
that he said, he lifted his hands and eyes towards 
Heaven, and prayed that God would by some miracle 
show his power to the unbelievers. It is then related 
that a loud clap of thunder accompanied by heavy rain, 
snow and hail, burst over head beating down the 
Pagan altars, and sweeping away their sacrifices 5 but 
no single drop fell upon Eskil. This more angered 
than frightened the multitude, and one of their priests 
threw a stone at Eskil ; another wounded him with a 
sword, on which he was carried before Swen who con- 
demned him to death for having, by witchcraft, caused 
the storm to the dishonour of the Gods and the King. 
He was then conveyed out of the town, and killed on a 
hill where a Dominican Cloister was afterwards erected 
to his honour. The monks further relate, that a burn- 
ing light came down from Heaven on his body, and 
that the spots of his blood could never be washed from 
the stone on which he stood when he was first wounded. 
Some Christians took St. EskiPs body with the inten- 
tion of carrying him to Fors where he had before lived ; 
however before they had quite reached the place, they 
were surrounded by such a thick mist that they could 
not see to advance a step further, and the body became 
so heavy that they had no power to Uft it. They 
thought this was to make them understand the saint's 
desire to be buried in the same spot. A Church was 
afterwards founded to his honour, and there a town 
is still called Eskilstuna, {. e EskiPs home. 

During this time, Christianity was rooted out in 
many parts of Sweden, and the heathen ceremonies 


celebrated with their former magnificence. This was 
particularly the case in the great Temple of Upsala. 
Its exterior was of coarse granite^ but the interior was 
entirely covered with plates of gold. Within stood the 
images of Odin^ Thor and Frey beside one another; 
and the people offered cocks^ hawks^ dogs, and horses 
to them, and in times of distress even men. The vic- 
tims were always of the male sex. The sacrifice was 
accompanied by the awful songs of the priests ; and the 
dead bodies of the animals, which were not consumed 
during the sacrificial feast, were hung up in the trees 
of the great grove which surrounded the temple. This 
grove was considered very holy by the heathen, and 
more than fifty dead bodies were to be seen sometimes 
hanging at a time, especially at the great sacrifice which 
took place every ninth year, in which they offered nine 
males of every sort of animal. The directing such 
sacrifices to idols was in the old language called biotas 
whence Swen received the surname of Blot Swen, 
because he revived these heathen services. 


BLOT SWSn's death. 

Blot Swbn reigned three years in North Sweden, 
and during that time, King Inge lived in West Gothland 
where Christianity was better known. He at last col- 
lected a small army with great secrecy, with which he 
rode northwards night and day till he reached the hoi 
in which King Blot Swen was one morning eai 
while he and his Court were yet sleeping. Inge cans 
his men to surround it, barred the doors, and set f 
to it. Blot Swen succeeded in forcing himself thror 


the flames^ bat was immediately attacked and hewn 
down by Ingens people, and his men were either burnt 
to death or killed. 

Inge regained his kingdom after this ; and some say 
that for the complete extirpation of Paganism, he 
caused the ancient temple at Upsala to be burnt, and' 
the sacred grove round it to be cut down. It is certain 
that the temple was so destroyed that the walls alone 
remained, which were afterwards repaired and extended 
by Swerker, the elder, and finally by St. Erik who re- 
built it as the Christian Church which is now called 
Old Upsala, and in whose walls it is still possible to 
trace the rude masonry which formerly belonged to the 
idol temple. 

Inge now caused Christianity to be proclaimed all 
over his dominions, in which it was introduced partly 
by force and partly by gentle means. The heathen 
withdrew to East Gothland and Småland where they 
chose for their King, Erick Blot, Swen's son who pre- 
sided at the sacrifices for them. A man called Kettil, 
the Unbeliever, because he would not receive the new 
faith, Uved also in that part of the country at that time. 
He had been Håkan Rufus Jarl and was very old, 
when with anger and disgust, at the progress of Christi- 
anity, he caused a great mound to be thrown up which 
he entered, and in which he lived three years till his 
death. This mound may still be seen near Kettilstad 
Church which got its name from him. 

Distinguished famihes have their origin from Blot 
Swen. His son Erik was ancestor of the Swerker 
dynasty ; his daughter Cecilia was married to Jedward 
Bonde, and was mother of St. Erik, from whom descend- 
ed the Erik dynasty. 




At this time reigned in Norway, Magnus, sumamed 
Barfot, because he had introduced the custom from 
southern countries of wearing short cloaks and bare 
legs. He was very ambitious, and being much given 
to war determined on adding the provinces lying west 
of Gotha-elf and Lake Wenem to the crown of Nor- 
way. Bohuslän was at that time called Wikeu, and 
its inhabitants, who were accounted a very stiff and 
unmanageable people, had always been subject to the 
Norwegian Kings; but the Markamen, or Dalmen (for 
Dalecarlia was then called the Marks) had always paid 
tribute to the Swedish Kings, and intended to continue 
the same. Magnus Barefot then led his army from 
Bohuslän through Dal plundering and ravaging everj 
where, and compelling the people to submit; but by 
the time he had reached Lake Wenem, the autumn 
was already far advanced for which reason he caused 
a fortress of wood and turf to be built on Kallands 
Island, as it is now called, supplying it with provisions 
and all necessaries, and digging a broad and deep 
trench round it, left it with a garrison of three hundred 
men under command of Sigurd Ullsträng, while he 
retired himself towards Norway. 

When King Inge heard this, he began, though very 
slowly, to collect his forces; and when the Lake was 
frozen arrived with three thousand men, and sent 
message to Sigurd Ullsträng begging him to retu 
home again with his people, their arms and all t 
spoil they had taken. But Sigurd arrogantly repli( 
that King Inge should find the dislodging them otl 


sort of work than taming deer out of a park. The 
King therefore advanced upon the island, and sent a 
second message desiring the Normen now to depart 
with their weapons and horses, but leave their treasures 
behind them. He however received a second refusal; 
on which he with his men assaulted the castle. They 
filled the ditch with stones and trees, and battered the 
wall with great beams which at last began to give way, 
and throwing flaming torches into the castle succeeded 
in setting it on fire. The Norwegians now demanded 
peace, and though King Inge might have cut them 
down to a man, he granted them quarter ; but their 
weapons, horses, and a]l they had plundered was to be 
left behind. As they went out of the fortress unarmed, 
each got a stroke of a rod across the thighs, so that 
they carried back to Norway the fame of a very dis- 
graceful expedition; and the Marks returned to their 
dependance on King Inge, and remained subject to him. 



When King Magnus heard of the disaster of his 
men at Rallands Island, he was .highly enraged and 
determined to avenge this affront. He therefore as- 
cended the river (Gotha-elf) early next spiing with his 
ships, plundering all West Gothland as far as Fox- 
ema Church, where his men left their ships to go fur- 
ther into the interior of the country ; but it was not 
long before they met a great body of Gotha people 
assembled with whom they engaged in a severe fight. 
The Normen were finally obliged to take flight, and the 
enemy followed them over a vast plain keeping in 



strict pursuit of King Magnus, who was recognisable by 
his great height and a red mantle which he wore oyer 
his armour. A Norwegian named Ogmund Skofteson, 
who was also very tall, rode beside the King ; perceivitig 
the intention of the enemy and the King's danger, 
he asked as a grace to get the red cloak ; and when 
they were behind some rocks and trees which hid them 
from sight, they exchanged mantles. Again appearing 
on the plain, Ogmund turned right off from the road 
the King was following, and the whole troop rushed on 
his traces. He was thus exposed to many dangers 
before he got rid of his pursuers and back to the 
ships, while it was easy for Magnus to make his escape, 
who returned to his own country well-determined to 
pay back the affronts himself and his people had 

He collected a new army and again ascended the 
river, compelling many West Gothlanders to accompany 
him. King Inge advanced against him with a great 
army and encamped at Foxerna, where Eäng Magnus 
fell upon him unexpectedly at night killed many of his 
people, and finally obliged him to fly ; after which he 
returned to Norway well satisfied with his success. 



Thb following summer a meeting was appointed ' 
Kongahall or Kong-elf, as the town is now called, h 
tween the Kings Inge and Magnus, and King Er 
Ejegod of Denmark, who came there to settle the 
difficulties. When the Ting was assembled, the thr 
Kings walked out on the plain apart from the peop 


discoursing together. In a while they returned, and 
peace was concluded between them on the conditions 
that the boundaries of the kingdoms should remain as 
they had formerly been, and that each King should 
make up to his subjects what they had suffered from 
the ravages of the war. As a further confirmation of 
this peace, King Magnus was to marry King Inge's 
daughter Margaret ; and she was therefore called Mar- 
garetha Fridkulla. But the people thought they had 
never seen three such remarkable men as Kings. Inge 
was allowed to be the strongest and manliest ; Magnus 
the most active and agile, but King Erik was the 

King Inge had peace after this as long as he lived. 
His brother Halstan was for a time co-regent ; but he 
soon died leaving two sons, Philip and Inge. When 
Inge, the elder, died (1112) he left no sons, and was 
succeeded by his two nephews as co-regents. 



Philip died in a short time (1118), and Inge then 
reigned alone. He was much devoted to the Christian 
faith, and very mild and pious ; fasted, read prayers, 
and masses at fixed seasons, but did not sufficiently 
protect his kingdom against foreign attacks. Two 
brothers, östen and Sigurd, reigned in Norway at this 
time. The latter with a chosen troop travelled to 
Jerusalem, bathed in the river Jordan, and performed 
many valiant actions on this expedition whence he 
gained the name of Jorsalafarare, or Traveller to 


Jerusalem ; for Jenisalem was then called Jorsala by 
the Northem nations. 

While Sigurd was on his travels, Osten sat at home 
governing his kingdom with such wisdom that it rose 
to great power, and he was greatly beloved by all. He 
sent many presents to the inhabitants of Jemdand, 
thus gaining their devotion; and finally summoning them 
together represented to them how much better it would 
be for them to belong to Norway than to Sweden. It 
was easier for them to get their provisions from Norway, 
neither was it so great a trouble for them to go to 
Trondheim as to travel to Upsala when they had any 
thing to solicit from their King. The Jemtlanders 
approved of King Osten's speech, and knowing him to 
be a sensible and active Prince they submitted^ paying 
their contributions to him henceforth, which King Inge 
was not able to prevent even if he had wished it. 

When King Sigurd Jorsala&rare, after the death of 
östen, became sole King in Norway, he determined to 
extirpate Paganism in Småland and Oster-Gotbland. 
He therefore sailed with a great fleet through the 
Sound and landed at Calmar, there commencing his 
depredations and not ceasing till the Smålanders had 
given him fifiteen hundred head of cattie,and had accepted 
the Christian religion, on which he returned to Norway. 
It is not mentioned any where that King Inge sought 
to repel or punish this invasion, and his power within 
the kingdom was very small. 

The son of Blot Swen reigned over the heathen f*^ 
East Gothland as has been already said. There wei 
always good harvests during his reign, for which reaso 
his subjects called him Erik Årsäll, or (Year blest) an( 
put yet more confidence in the power of their ander 


divinities ; however he with his whole family embraced 
Christianity before his death, and thus Paganism lost 
its last support, and Christianity became universal 
throughout the kingdom. 

King Inge, the younger, died of poison in 1129, and 
left no children. 



From the remotest times, the Swedes of the northern 
provinces had always had a right to choose a King for the 
whole nation, who when he was elected was obliged to 
hold his Eriksgata,* give hostages for himself at the 
frontiers of each province, and afterwards at the pro* 
vincial Ting swear to protect the laws. The other 
provinces envied the Upper-Swedes this privilege, and 
the West Gothlanders in particular had long been 
annoyed at it. As the Kings of the Stenkil dynasty 
were all of West Gothland origin, their countrymen 
imagined they might now have a vo'ce in the election. 
They therefore assembled, and named the Danish 
Prince, Magnus Nilsson, son of Margaretha Fridkulla, 
and King Nils to whom she had been married after 
the death of Magnus Barfot. 

The Upper-Swedes enraged at the impertinence of 
the West Gothlanders did not choose to renounce their 
rights, and elected on their side another King. He 
was called Ragwald, and some say he was of the 
Stenkil dynasty. He was very tall and strong, but pas- 
sionate and violent in character, for which reason he is 

* &ik8gata signifies the journey through the whole kingdom 
which the Swedish monarchs yet perform on their accession to the 


supposed to have been surnamed Knaphöfde^ or Short- 

Ragwald Knaphöfde immediately commenced his 
Eriksgata ; but when he came to the frontiers of West 
Gothland, not choosing to give hostages, he entered the 
province without the consent of the inhabitants. They 
therefore collected against him at Karleby Långa, not 
far from Falköping, and killed him (1131). It is said 
that his grave is yet to be seen there. 

Magnus Nilsson committed meanwhile a base and 
cowardly action in Denmark, when by flattery and 
professions of friendship, he got his nephew, Duke 
Knut Laward, into his power and afterwards secretly 
murdered him that he might be certain of the Danish 
throne on his father. King Nils' death. After the com- 
mission of this crime, he became generally known as a 
harsh and evil Prince, and though the West Gothlanders 
still adhered to him, the Swedes elected for their King 
a son of Erik Årsäll, Swerker by name, who had in- 
herited East Gothland from his father and embraced 
Christianity. As Knut Laward had been much loved 
in Denmark, a rebellion broke out against King Nils 
and his son in which Erik Emund, brother of the 
murdered Prince, fought long with various success, till 
at last Magnus, determined to destroy his power at a 
blow, collected twenty thousand men from Jutland and 
the islands with which he marched against his ne- 
phew who was only possessed of Hålland and Skåne. 
That no rumour of his motions might spread, he caused 
all the eastern coasts of Zealand to be carefully watchec 
but Magnus Saxeson, one of Erik's men, lowered hior 
self down one night by a rope from Stewen's KUnt in 
a boat in which he rowed across the Straits, and ii 
formed Erik of the danger that threatened him. Son 


time after the whole Danish fleet anchored off Fote- 
wick not far from Skanör ; and Magnus landed his men 
immediately arranging them in no particular order for 
he despised Erikas power. Five Bishops and many 
priests were in Magnus's company, and as it was pre- 
cisely Easter, the Bishops counselled the Prince not to 
break the Sabbath by fighting a battle. But Magnus 
treated their words with contempt, and when his men 
seemed downcast, encouraged them by saying : " Why 
fear ye, my brave men ? Are we not twenty thousand 
armed men, with whom we could take even Rome 
itself ?^^ But they remained dispirited. 

Archbishop Asker of Lund was with Erik Emund, 
animating his troops by representing to them, *^ That 
weak and cowardly men are not agreeable in the eyes of 
6od; that all roust die once, while he who now fought 
manfully might be assured of the full forgiveness of his 
sins.'^ And even desired his priests to walk through 
the lines pronouncing absolution. Erik next addressed 
them, reminding them of " how cruelly King Nils and 
Prince Magnus had murdered his brother, Knut 
Laward as well as the rest of their ill-deeds which 
should now meet with their deserts.'^ The whole army 
exclaimed that they woidd live and die with Erik, and 
advanced boldly against Magnus, having their cavalry 
in advance. The Danish army stood near the village 
of Hammar above Fotewik ; as soon as they saw the 
dost and heard the rush of the Scanian cavalry, they 
began to fly back to their ships, and by the time the 
cavalry did come up, the Danish lines were already in 
disorder and easily routed. King Nils was sUghtly 
wounded, and was helped by a peasant to a horse with 
which he escaped to the fleet ; but Prince Magnus, who 
was dressed in a black coat of mail, held good his 


ground encouraging the people round him to resist- 
anoe, so that an obstinate fight was kept up where he 
stood. His standard-bearer was called S'^ard Starke, 
and his foster-brother was a very stout warrior. He 
and Magnus, together with Bishop Peder of Roskild, 
kept up the battle long; but when Sigurd saw that 
they must be vanquished, he threw away the banner, 
and as Prince Mcgnus would not fly of his own accord, 
caught him up in his arms and hurried away with him 
towards the ships. But Erik's men cut off their re- 
treat, so that they both perished at last (1134). The 
flying Danes crowded in such numbers into some ves- 
sels that they sunk, which, when the people on board 
the others saw, they would not permit a greater number 
than they dready had to enter. A crowd of Danes, 
pursued by the Scanians, rushed into the water, and 
caught hold of the sides of their countrymen^s ships 
hoping for safety; bat those on board pitilessly cut off 
their hands and arms, in which way many were lost, 
besides the numbers who fell in the battle, amongst 
whom were five Bishops, and more than fifty priests 
who had accompanied Pri^fce Magnus. 

King Nils fled back to Denmark, and was soon 
afterwards murdered at Schleswig by the burghers, 
who hated him because he had not punished Knut 
Laward^s death. Erik succeeded him as King of Den- 
mark; and as Magnus was fallen, Swerker was ac- 
knowledged .King over all Sweden, founding a new 
dynasty which was called after him, the Swerkerska. 


BOOK 11. 




King Swbrkbr was of a very mild and pious cha- 
racter^ and much devoted to the Christian religion. 
He founded many of the oldest monasteries which 
were known in Sweden^ as Nydala in Småland, Wam- 
hem*' in West Gothland, Alvastraf in East Gothland, &c. 
and built many Churches besides throughout the king* 

Cardinal Nicolas Albanensis came, in his time, to 
Linköpings and held the first Synod in Sweden (a. jy. 
1153). At this meeting, the first tax Sweden had ever 
paid the Pope was imposed under the name of St. 
Peter's Penning. Carrying arms was at the same time 
forbidden to all except the King's body-guard. The 
Cardinal was to have founded an Archbishopric in the 
kingdom; which was, however, not carried into exe- 
cution on account of internal dissensions. The Swedes 
desired that the See should be at Upsala, while the 
Goths insisted upon its being at Linköping. 

From this period, Christianity may be said to have 

* That is Bernard's home, for the morks of St. Bernard lived 

t That is Alfhild's-stad (town), for the monastery was founded 
upon property belonging to Alfhild, Swerker's Queen. 


been established in Sweden. Together with the an- 
nual sacrifices in the Temple of Upsala, the Allshaija 
Ting was also abolished, so that the peasants were de- 
prived of further participation in the government. By 
this means, and by the proclamation against bearing 
arms, they gradually lost their former consideration, 
and the Bishops and other great lords settled ail the 
affairs of the kingdom at the meetings which were 
called Herredagar or Diets. 



The Danish King Swen Grate had placed a man 
named Karl as governor in his province of Halland 
in the south of Sweden. This Karl had a wife and a 
sister-in-law who were both famed for their beauty. 
Prince John, King Swerker's son, conceived an unlawful 
passion for these women, and during KarFs absence 
carried them off to his castles in Sweden, treating them 
in the most disgraceful manner. When his father and 
the people caused their common detestation of his 
crime to be known, he restored them to their home; 
but was so abhorred by the peasantry that when he 
assembled them at a Ting to ask their assistance against 
the Danes, they fell upon and slew him. 

But King Swen Grate, however, considered this as an 
outrage put upon the whole Danish nation, and one 
for which it was incumbent on him to take ample ve 
geance. He, therefore, commenced his preparatic 
against Sweden, and could not be turned from his i 
tentions either by King Swerker's many message 
begging for peace and reconciliation or by the entr 


ties of Cardinal Nicolai, who represented to him the 
small advantage and many miseries which awaited him 
in so poor and miserable a country as Sweden. Swen 
Grate depended too much on the good fortune he had 
already enjoyed to pay much attention to these warn- 
ings of the Cardinal. Considering Swerker's embas- 
sies as a proof of fear and weakness, he only became 
the more eager in his undertaking, and even commenced 
distributing amongst his men the jarldoms and govern- 
ments he had yet to conquer in Sweden. A dispute 
between two of his courtiers arose regarding a Swedish 
maiden, who at that time was renowned for her beauty 
all over the north, which the King settled by promising 
that she should be the reward of him who conducted 
himself with the most bravery in the war on which 
they were about to enter. With these preparations 
they awaited the winter, when they could penetrate 
into the country with the greatest facility over its 
frozen lakes and rivers. 

King Swerker was now so much reduced by old age 
and infirmity, that he took no means of defence against 
this invasion, and permitted the Danish army without 
the least opposition to break into the province of 
Småland from that of Skåne in the winter of 115.4. 
They first traversed that portion of the former province 
then known under the name of Finnweden, the inhabi- 
tants everywhere paying homage to the Danish mo- 
narch and supplying him with provisions. He then 
entered Warend Härad burning and destroying every- 
thing as the people had fled into the woods. Mean-^ 
time the winter had set in with great violence much to 
the discomfiture of the Danes, whose progress was 
stopped by the snow. One day as the King was sitting 
at table in his tent, he was informed that the peasants 
bad entirely shut up the road by means of a barricade. 


He started up in wrath and rode to the place com* 
manding his men to storm the barricade. A crowd of 
peasants stood behind, who with loud cries begged the 
King for peace^ but he was not to be moved ; they 
were therefore obliged to defend themselves, and suo 
ceeded till evening in repelling the attack of the Danes. 
The army meanwhile had suffered much from the 
severity of the season; numbers of horses had been 
destroyed^ and the men besides began to grow weary 
of the war and desert in parties for their homes, so that 
the forces were much weakened. Swen, therefore, with 
one division of his troops suddenly retreated by back 
roads into Skåne, while the other under command of 
Karl was to regain Halland. These were well received 
by the peasantry of Småland who furnished them with 
meat and drink. When Karl had beeii one evening 
feasted in this manner, be and his intoxicated compa- 
nions were conducted to an empty bam to pass the 
night. As soon as tbey had fallen asleep, the Småland- 
ers shut the doors, and then set fire to the bam at its 
four comers. As the fire grew stronger, Karl and his 
party awoke, and finally succeeded in bursting the door; 
but drunk and unarmed as tbey were, were easily cut 
down by the Småländers, and a few of those who had 
been taken prisoners were mercilessly thrust under the 
ice on Nissa ri^er, thus meeting their death. 

By this and various other means, the Danes weie 
expelled by the inhabitants of the districi; of Wärend, 
in which feats the women are said to have given their 
husbands signal and valiant assistance. The inhabitai 
have received divers privileges as a reward for th 
bravery, and the women the right of inheriting an eqi 
portion with the men as weU as of h&ving trumps 
blown before them in their nuptial processions. 

Shortly after it happened that as King Swerker w 


on the road from Alebäck to ToUstads Church to attend 
the early service of Christmas morning, 1155, he was 
murdered by his groom. A stone was put up in memory 
of the murder which has only lately been removed* 
This crime is thought to have been instigated by the 
Danish PrinceMagnasHenrikson, who, as great grandson 
of Eang Inge, the elder, imagined himself rightful heir 
of the Swedish crown. King Swerker was buried in 
Alvastra convent. 



After the death of Swerker^ enmity again broke 
out between the two rival portions of Sweden as to 
which of them should nominate the King. Neither of 
them would have Magnus Henrikson; but the Goths 
chose Charles, the son of Eöng Swerker; and the Up- 
Swedes chose a Swedish man, Erik, son of Jedward 
Tordson Bonde of Engsö and Cecilia^ daughter of 
Blot Swen. This Erik was very mild, pious, generous^ 
humble^ wise and brave, and was therefore much loved 
by his subjects and honoured by the clergy. He 
fasted often to mortify his fleshy bathed in ice-cold 
water, and wore hair doth next his skin. He built 
many of the smaller granite Churches which are to be 
seen all over Sweden, and it is thought that what is 
called the Peasant Church in Upsala was built by him. 
He used also often to travel round his kingdom, and 
adjust the differences and disputes among the people; 
but when be could not succeed in reconciling the 
parties, he pronounced between them; and his judg- 
ment was known to be right, for he never showed 


respect of persons. He was always found to protect 
the poor against the oppressions of the rich, and when 
any of his subjects through gratitude offered him in- 
creased taxes, he refused them, sajring, ^^I ha^e 
enough of my own, keep yours : perhaps some day 
you may come to want it.^' 



The manners and morals of the Swedes had by this 
time in some degree become civilized by Christianity. 
The slaves taken in war were no longer so harshly 
treated being also Christians. The arts of reading 
and writing as they were then known were introduced 
by the monks ; commerce began to be carried on in the 
towns protected by the Church, and agriculture to be 
attended to since the former plundering piracies of the 
Vikings had entirely ceased. But the Finns who dwelt 
on the other side of the Baltic, and the Esthonians 
who were still heathens continually disturbed the 
Swedish coast. These Erik determined to conquer 
and convert, as well that he might be in peace for them 
in future, as because the Pope had solemnly enjoined 
crusades against the heathen as a work very pleasing 
in the sight of God. Bishop Henrik of Upsala, a brave 
man, animated the King in these intentions ; he even 
collected a great force consisting of a number of Hel- 
singlanders under the command of Fale Bure, the el ' 
When Erik by his Ambassadors had at first exho i 
the Finns to embrace Christianity and submit, he sa 1 
over and landed at Åbo, where he is said to 1 
founded the old castle at the mouth of the river Ai 


A considerable body of Finns met him, and a sharp 
combat between them ensued, in which, afiter a great 
loss, the Finns were at last obliged to take to flight. 
This caused great joy to the Swedes, but the King 
wept as he contemplated the bodies of the slain ; when 
his men asked him the cause of his tears, he answered : 
** That though he rejoiced at the victory for Christianity, 
he could not but bitterly mourn the many souls that 
had this day been condemned. If they had before but 
embraced the true faith, they would one day at least 
have entered into eternal bliss.'^ 

Afler this victory, the Finns no longer dared to make 
any resistance, and Erik was enabled to subdue the 
south of Finland and Nyland. Many Helsinglandere 
settled themselves at this place, which is the reason of 
the Swedish language being spoken in many districts ; 
and the names of Helsingfors, Helsinge, and Helsingby, 
still bear witness to this emigration. Even the patron 
Saint of Helsingland, Hille Bror Stafifan, is commemo- 
rated in the name of Stafifansby. All the Finns whom 
King Erik could get into his power were by him 
compelled to be baptized and profess Christianity, and 
when by this means and the erection of many Churches 
he had laboured on the extinction of paganism, he 
returned home to his own kingdom. 



Bishop Henrik of Upsala had accompanied the 
King on this expedition, as well for the purpose of 
converting as baptizing the heathen ; and also when it 
was necessary to fight against them, for he was a brave 


and fearless man. On the King's return Henrik had 
no desire to go home to his Bishopric, but thought 
it better, by preaching, to labour in the dissemination 
of Christianity in Finland. He established himself at 
Räntämäki near Åbo, and built the Church now called 
St. Mary's. He used to baptise converts at Kuppis 
Well, which lies immediately without the town^ and 
likewise passed much of his time in journeys into the 
interior for the further spread of his mission. 

Åt this time there lived at Sarris, in the parish of 
Wirmo, a rich peasant named Lalli, who had been 
made a Catholic. This LaUi, for a murder which he 
had committed had been condemned by Bishop Henrik 
to a very severe penance, which had greatiy enraged 
him. It now happened that the Bishop on one of his 
journeys came to Sarris during the absence of LaUi, 
and asked to receive from Lalli^s wife what was requisite 
for himself and his company. At that time, when there 
were so few travellers in circulation, there were neither 
good roads nor good inns to be found, and it was there- 
fore considered every one's duty to entertain the way- 
farers with hospitality. Did he meet with any other 
reception, the traveller often broke into the peasant's 
barn and larder, and helped himself to what he required. 
This was called lodging by force. As it pleased Lalli's 
wife to refuse food, the Bishop caused what was neces- 
sary to be taken by force, and continued his journey 
afterwards to the north of Finland. Immediately after 
this Lalli returned home, and having heard what the 
Bishop had done, armed his men, set out in wrath 
after him, and overtook him just as he was crossi 
the ice on Kjulo-morass. He attacked him instant 
and killed him without trouble. He then took off t 
Bishop's mitre and set it on his own head, so 


returned in triumph and entered his cottage in this 
costume, saying to his wife : " I have killed the bear ?' 
But the monks relate that a miracle took place, which 
was, that when Lalli was going to lift the mitre from 
his head, it stuck so fast that it could not be removed 
without the scalp accompanying it. 

The Christians took up the Bishop^s body and carried 
it to Nousis, where his grave is yet seen ; and even one 
of his thumbs, which could not be found in the quantity 
of snow, was discovered according to tradition in the 
following manner : the spring after his death, it 
happened that a peasant who was rowing over Kjulo- 
morass saw a raven with loud cries beating his wings in 
the air over a particular spot on the water. The 
peasant rowed there and found the missing thumb 
lying on a little bit of ice. It was taken up and pre- 
served with the rest of the body, and this was con- 
sidered a very great miracle ; in memory of which, the 
Consistory of Åbo, to this day, carry the hewn-oflF thumb 
in their seal. This Bishop Henrik was afterwards con- 
sidered a saint, and was peculiariy honoured as the 
patron of Finland. Many miracles are said to have 
been performed by calUng on his name ; and the 19th of 
January was celebrated all over Sweden as a festival in 
his honour, known by the name of Hindersmass. 


KING EBIk's death. 

The same Magnus Henrikson who had been the 
cause of the death of Swerker, the elder, intended now, 
by getting Erik out of the way, to open himself a road 
to the Swedish crown. He collected an army, and 

VOL. I. K 


with it sailed secretly up Lake Malar to Upsala, where 
he arrived when the King was in Church. One of Erik's 
servants hastened in to announce the arrival of the 
enemy, but Erik answered ; *^ Let me hear the mass 
to an end ; the rest of the service I hope to celebrate 
elsewfaere.^^ Mass being concluded, the King with his 
few men left the Church; but by that time. Prince 
Magnus with his Danes were so near that the Eang 
could not avoid them. A sharp but short combat 
ensued. The King defended himself manfully awhile 
against ten Danes, but was finally taken prisoner ; and 
Magnus Henrikson caused him to be instantly be- 
headed (a.d. 1160). It is related that when his blood 
was shed, a very clear fountain immediately sprung 
forth which is still called St. Erik's Spring. His body 
was buried first in Old Upsala; but was afterwards 
removed to the Cathedral, where it is yet preserved in a 
silver chest. Of all Swedish saints, none has ever 
attained to such honours. He was accounted the 
patron of the whole kingdom ; and all, firom the Eang 
on the throne to the peasant, swore by St. Erik's name, 
using these words : " So help me God, and St. Erik 
King !'^ This image was placed in the great seal of the 
kingdom, as well as in that of the Chapter of Upsala. 
His head became the arms of Stockholm. The silver 
chest containing his bones was placed on the altar at 
the coronations ; the choir was hung with St. Erik's 
tapestry, on which his exploits were worked ; these 
were Ukewise painted on the walls of the old Upsala 
Church. His banner was hung over his grave, 
which the royal saint was painted holding a shield wi 
three crowns. This banner was considered holy, a 
was therefore only used against the enemy in times 
peculiar danger 3 but was then thought to carry cert? 


victory along with it. Many banners in imitation of it 
were to be found in other Churches, and the people used, 
on St. Erik's day, to carry them in solemn procession 
round the fields expecting a better harvest. They also 
used to wrap a small image of this holy King in the 
clothes of the sick, thinking this procured the patient 
some ease in his sufferings; and many miracles are 
related by the monks to have taken place by invoking 
his name. 

He was married to Christina, King Inge the elder's 
grand-daughter, and had four children by her. His 
brother, Iwar Jedwardson, was the ancestor of the noble 
race of Bonde who carry a boat in their shield. 



After King Erik's death, Magnus Henrikson easily 
got the terrified people to proclaim him King ; but his 
quiet was of short duration. A universal rage at the 
death of their beloved sovereign spread itself throughout 
the kingdom. The men of Helsingland assembled first 
under the conduct of Fale Bure, the elder, and marched 
southwards taking the Up-Swedes along with them. 
Karl Swerkerson, who reigned in Gothaland, and who 
was suspected of having a share in Erik's death, 
marched also with a band of East Gothlanders. These 
united forces fell on Magnus Henrikson not far from 
Vpsala, overcame bim and the Danish troops which 
he headed. A Church was afterwards built on the 
battle-field, which in memory of the defeat of the Danes " 
was called Dannemark. 

K 2 




King Erik left a son of the name of Knut, who 
desired to succeed his father ; but after four years of 
vain struggle with Karl, he was finally compelled to fly 
to Norway, so that Karl was left to the sole possession 
of the kingdom; and was therefore called Swea och 
Göta Konung, or King of Sweden and Gothaland, being 
the first who bore this title. The first Archbishop of 
Sweden was ordained in his reign ; his name was 
Stephen, and his See, Upsala. Knut returned after 
the lapse of four years secretly from Norway; sur- 
prised Karl at Wisingsö and murdered him in 1168. 
His wife, Christiana, escaped with great difficulty, car- 
rying her little son, Swerker, with her, and after a 
journey full of miseries arrived at last, and received 
protection from her powerful relatives in Denmark. 

Knut Erikson was soon involved in intense war with 
two Princes of the house of Swerker, whom he however 
speedily vanquished. Disturbances broke out in the 
northern and western provinces, while the Esthonians, 
making an incursion from the East, sailed into the Lake 
Malar, even attacked and murdered Archbishop Johan 
and razed his castle Almarestäk to the ground. They 
then proceeded to Sigtuna which was at that time a 
rich and distinguished town. Though well fortified, 
it was soon taken, entirely destroyed, and reduced to a 
heap of rubbish. The Esthonians returned loaded w^"^^ 
plunder, among which were two doors of solid sili 
which were taken from St. Peter's Church in Sigtui 
and are now preserved in Russia. Sigtuna never j 
covered this misfortune; and the greater part of 


former inhabitants removed to Stockholm which began 
now to be resorted to, its situation being more favourable 
for commerce. This invasion of the Esthonians im- 
pressed the government with the necessity of fortifying 
Stockholm^ and by this means excluding such unwel- 
come guests from Lake Malar. To protect himself 
from the hatred of the Swerker family, King Knut 
adopted the banished Prince, Swerker Karlson, gave 
him a share in the administration, and died himself in 
peace in 1199 at Eriksberg in West Gothland. He was 
bom in Wamhem. 

Swerker Karlson, commonly called Swerker the 
younger, in the commencement of his reign lived in 
good imderstanding with the sons of the late King; 
but suspicions at last awakening in his mind towards 
them, he surprised them at Elgaras in West Gothland, 
where three of them were murdered; but Erik, the 
eldest, made his escape to Norway. King Swerker was 
a very handsome, eloquent, and valiant man, and had 
sought to confirm his power by intermarriage with the 
powerful race of Folkungar, as by granting the clergy 
exemption from all taxes to the crown and amenability 
to the usual courts of justice. But this breach of 
faith excited so much detestation, that when Prince 
Erik, three years after, returned from Norway, a great 
party was ready to join him. Swerker received power- 
ful aid from Denmark, but was defeated notwithstand- 
ing at Lena in West Gothland, and escaped with but 
a handful of men. He returned two years afterwards 
with another Danish army; but was again defeated, 
and this time lost his life in the battle being slain by 
his own son-in-law. Erik Knutson reigned only six 
years, and all that is to be said of him is, that he was 
the first King in Sweden who was crowned. He died 
a natural death in 1216. 


Johan Swerkerson now became King, though Erik's 
widow claimed the kingdom for her son. Johan, like 
all the Kings of this period, favoured the clergy ex- 
ceedingly, and increased their privileges. At the 
Popens instigation, he undertook a crusade for the con- 
version of the Esthonians with some success ; but 
having retired with the greater part of his army, the 
remainder under their leaders, Jarl Earl the Deaf and 
Bishop Charles of Linköping were easily overcome by 
the Esthonians. King John died in Wisingsö in 1222, 
and with him the Swerker dynasty died out. 

Erik XI Erikson now succeeded to the crown. He 
both lisped and was lame ; but with these defects was 
wise and prudent. During his minority, the Folkungar 
held the reigns of government; but when he became 
of age and married, they rebelled against him, defeated 
him in 1229, and made one of their relations, Knut 
the Long, King ; but he never possessed the kingdom 
in peace ; continual disaffection and rebellions continu- 
ing till 1234 when King Erik returned with Danish 
assistance, and gained, at Sparsatra, a victory over 
Knut who fell in the battle. Peace, however, was 
not restored till Holmgeir, Knut's son, was taken 
prisoner and shut up in Skokloster. A Synod was 
held at Skenninge under this King in 1248, in which 
the marriage of priests was forbidden, and the Pope 
claimed his privilege of nominating bishops. King 
Erik was mild and gentle in temper, and was governed 
first by Jarl Ulf Fasi, and after his death by Birger 
Jarl of Bjelbo. He died of poison, as it was thoug 
in 1250, and the Erik dynasty, in the male line, dii 
with him ; but from his sister, Martha, the noble famili 
of Sparre and Oxenstjerna claim their descent. 






A VERY celebrated heathen named Folke Filbyter 
vras the ancestor of the powerful and numerous race 
of the Folkungar. His grandson Folke the Big was 
appointed King Inge, the Elder's Jarl, and was the 
most powerful man in the kingdom in his day. Such 
was his consideration in the North, that he was married 
to a Danish Princess, and his children by numerous 
intermarriages, were connected with all the royal houses 
in the kingdom, and thus acquired both riches and 
reputation. It appeared as if the offices of Jarl, Judge, 
and Bishop, were theirs almost by right. Their im- 
portance was yet more increased by Birger Brosa, 
grandson of Folke the Big, who was Jarl at the Court 
of Knut Erikson and Swerker the younger. Married 
to a Norwegian Princess, he was visited by both Nor- 
wegian and Danish Princes, to whom he accorded 
support or protection ; and in Sweden governed almost 
everything at his pleasure. Birger Brosa and Folke 
the Big had both been wise and prudent chiefs ; but 
at this time the Folkungar began to be much elated 
with their fortune and success, feeling themselves to be 
the first family in the kingdom, which did not prevent 
their envying each other's prosperity. Therefore, when 


Knut the Long was raised by them to the throne in 
opposition to Erik the Lame, they soon became at 
enmity with him and assisted King Erik back into the 



Birger Brosa's brother, Magnus Måneskjöld lived 
at Bjelbo in East Gothland, and was married to Ingrid 
YlfVa, who was a very powerful and renowned woman. 
They had many children, the eldest and most celebrated 
of whom was called Birger. During the war between 
Erik the Lame and Knut the Long, he sided with 
Erik, and was soon after married to his sister Princess 
Ingeborg ; nevertheless he did not attain to great power 
immediately, for according to the terms of peace with 
Knut the Long's party, Erik was obliged to accept 
Knut's Jarl, Ulf Fasi as his Jarl, and he, Ulf, was so 
severe and arbitrary a man that all were obliged to 
submit to his will. 

The town of Liibeck in North Germany was at this 
time in great distress being besieged by the Danish 
King by land, and shut up by sea by means of strong 
iron chains which he had stretched across the Trave, 
on which the town is situated, hoping in this way to 
starve them out. But it is related that Birger caused 
the keels of some large vessels to be plated with iron, 
loaded them with provisions, and sailed up the rive" 
towards Liibeck. The wind being strong and favoi 
able, Birger hoisted all sail and so coming in a stea^ 
course, steered right on the iron chains which snappe 
at the mighty concussion, and the ships entered L' 


beck with their supplies. When the Danish monarch 
heard this^ he abandoned the siege and returned home 
with his army; and from this time Liibeck, through 
gratitude, granted many privileges of commerce to the 



As Erik the Lame had no children ; the mighty Jarl 
Ulf Fasi had probably intended his own children 
should be heirs; but he died as early as 1248, and 
though his son, Junker Carl, was a man of much 
repute, and therefore universally considered as his 
fiither's rightful successor, Ulf Fasi had been so little 
loved by King Erik that his son was passed by, and 
Birger Månsson named Jarl in his place. No dis- 
turbance .broke out on this nomination, but envy and 
distrust of each other were mutually felt by the Jarl 
and the young man. 

Birger immediately assumed the government of the 
kingdom with power and might, and at the Synod 
held at Skenninge, he was considered by the Papal 
Legate as the chief agent in affairs of state. Some 
enmity existing at this time between King Erik of 
Sweden and King Håkan of Norway, on account of 
mutual predatory excursions on the frontiers of both 
countries, the latter sent to Birger Jarl demanding 
his daughter Rikissa for his own eldest son. Prince 
Håkan, in marriage, and also that both Kings should 
meet the following summer at Lödöse (a place on the 
west coast of Sweden some miles from the sea), and 
settle their differences. Birger accepted the first part 

K 3 


of this proposal, and even promised to speak to King 
Erik of the second. In the summer of 1249, King 
Erik and Birger Jarl therefore set out for the ren- 
dezvous, and heard shortly after that Håkan had arrived 
before them with a large fleet. As such preparations 
had more the appearance of war than of a peaceful 
conference, King Erik immediately withdrew into the 
interior of the country, and Birger Jarl also retired into 
West Gothland as Håkan approached; but sent him 
a message, however, informing him in a few words 
of the reason of his own and the King^s retreat; on the 
delivery of which the Ambassador instantly returned. 
This much displeased King Håkan ; but as he required 
peace with Sweden, he sent his relation Gunnar to 
Birger Jarl, giving him however express orders, that 
he was to speak as laconically to the Jarl as the Jarl's 
Ambassador had spoken to him. Gunnar joined Birger 
in West Gothland and sought to persuade him to a new 
meeting ; but he excuised himself on the plea of the 
King's being already in East Gothland, and it being 
out of the question that he should retrace his steps 
such a long way. Gunnar, now acting against bis 
own sovereign's injunctions, proceeded further to urge 
Jarl, arguing that Birger was both King and Jarl in 
Sweden. Birger then suffered himself to be persuaded 
and returned to Lödöse, where the marriage between 
Rikissa and the young King Håkan was settled first, 
and peace afterwards concluded between both king- 
doms, which was confirmed by a steady friendship 
between the future father and son<^in-law which last 
their whole lives. 




An Englishman of the name of Thomas was at 
this time Bishop of Åbo. He was very zealous^ but 
often harsh and imprudent; and having by a Papal Bull 
received a right to add to his bishopric all the lands^ 
both private and belonging to the temples, with which 
the converted heathen might present him, he assumed 
in consequence the right of possessing himself of many 
more* Finally, he insisted on the execution of a Papal 
mandate which enjoined that the Christians should 
have no intercourse with the Pagans in Finland, nor 
even sell provisions to them. This, as might have been 
expected, excited them to fury, and with fire and sword 
they wreaked their vengeance on Nyland and the south 
of Finland where the Catholics dwelt. Little children 
Were murdered without compassion as soon as they 
were known to be baptised ; the entrails were cut out 
of grown-up people while they were yet living and 
offered to the idols ; others were hunted round trees 
till they fell down from exhaustion ; the eyes of the 
priests were torn out, their hands and feet hewn off; 
they were afterwards wrapped in straw which was 
set on fire, so that their cruelties caused a general 
terror throughout the land ; and Bishop Thomas, seized 
with horror, fled to Wisby in the island of Gothland 
where he soon after died. 

When the news of these events reached the Pope, he 
wrote to King Erik exhorting him to a crusade for the 
conversion of the murderous Pagans, and for the pro- 
tection of the Catholics ; promising all who took part 
in it the same privileges and forgiveness of sins en- 


joyed by those who were engaged in the Crusades to the 
Holy Land. King Erik and Birger Jarl were not 
disinclined for it, for they were much exasperated by 
the atrocities the heathens had perpetrated^ and also 
partly stood in dread of a similar invasion on the east 
coast of Sweden, and the shores of Lake Malar* The 
Pope's letter was therefore by the bishops made public 
all over the kingdom, and was followed by the King's 
and the JarPs summons to arms. Their former warlike 
spirit was at once re-awakened in the Swedes^ and tlie 
people were seized by a general desire to partake in 
this war. Many an old ancestral sword, which had 
long hung rusting on the walls, was taken down ; many 
a helmet and cuirass burnished anew; vessels of all 
shapes and sizes launched on the waves, and many 
a closed purse undrawn. Many a rosy lip was kissed 
which never in joy of heart was kissed again ; and 
at parting many a fair hand was wrung; and loud 
was the weeping of the women who were left behind, 
but they consoled themselves with the thought that it 
was for the glory of God that all this was done and 

In this manner a great fleet was speedily assembled, 
which under the command of Birger Jarl sailed up the 
Gulf of Bothnia and cast anchor not far from Wasa. 
There Birger landed, and set up a wooden cross as 
a sign that he had come there merely for the spread of 
Christianity ; and that place was in consequence called 
Krytsberg or Korsholm. 

The heathens had been informed of his arrival, a 
had collected in great bodies against him; but th. 
were defeated on every hand, and Birger Jarl carried ( 
his work with strength and understanding. As 1 
enacted a law that all who became Christians should 1 


protected both in life and property^ in the space 
of two years^ in appearance at leasts he succeeded in 
introducing Christianity into Tavasteland and East 
Bothnia. To assure himself of the continued sub- 
mission of the country, he fortified Korsolm and Ta- 
vastehus Castle as well as settled a number of Swedes 
in East Bothnia, who there formed a colony ; and re- 
mained long in the country himself that he might 
superintend the execution of his orders and by this 
means assure his conquest. 



While Birger Jarl was thus occupied, Erik the 
Lame died (1250), and as he left no heir there were 
many pretenders to the crown; however such was 
their power, none but the Folkungar were to be 
thought of; but even they were torn by internal dis- 
sensions. Some laboured in favour of Birger Jarl; 
others for Philip, son of Knut the Long ; others for 
Birger Brosa's grandson, Magnus Brock; others again 
for Junker Carl, and great disturbances were expected 
to be the fruit of these conflicting opinions. 

At this juncture, a very powerful and highly con- 
sidered man named Iwar Bla, lived at Gröneborg near 
Enköping. To prevent all disorders arising out of the 
machinations of the Folkungar^ he immediately sum- 
moned a Diet, where, especially through his influence, 
Birger Jarl's son, Waldemar, was chosen King, and all 
this was managed with such speed that all was settled 
fourteen days after Erik's death. 

When news of this was brought to Birger Jarl in 


Finland, he hastened home with the greater part of his 

forces, highly displeased at not having been himself 

named King. He^ therefore, summoned those who had 

made the election, and when they were assembled, 

standing up in the midst, asked, ^^Who had been so 

bold as to order an election during the absence of the 

Jarl, and why they had taken a child for their King ?^^ I war 

Bla stood up immediately answering, that he had caused 

the election^ and added^ ^^ Though we certainly consider 

you most worthy to bear the crown, you are already 

advanced in years^ and cannot live so long as your 

son/' As Birger was still unsatisfied, Iwar proceeded : 

^'If this displeases you, do with your son what you 

please. No fear but we shall be able to find another 

Eong.^^ At this the Jarl remained awhile silent and 

afterwards asked, ^^Who they would in that case 

take for their King ?^' Iwar boldly answered. ^^ I also 

can shake out a King firom under my cloak.^' The 

Jarl then gave in fearing through further resistance 

to lose the crown for both himself and his son, 

and declared himself satisfied with what had hap* 


To assure this dignity to his son, he caused him to 
be crowned with much magnificence in Linköping 
Cathedral (125 1)^ that of Upsala being just at that 
time burnt down. Shortly after, he caused his daughter 
Rikissa with great pomp and a rich dower to be con- 
veyed to the frontiers of Norway, where she was met 
by both the Norwegian Kings, father and son, and her 
marriage with the latter was celebrated with grep^ 
pomp and solemnity. 

Birger JarPs mother, Ingrid Ylfva, died soon aft/ 
(1252). There was a prophecy current that while h< 
head was up her family would always remain in powej 


Therefore when she was buried in Bjelbo Church, 
Birger Jarl caused her to be walled into a pillar stand- 
ing upright so that her head should never droop. 



The rest of their family bore no small envy to 
Birger Jarl and Waldemar for this elevation, and de- 
termined to enter into a war agunst them, though they 
could not even agree amongst themselves as to who 
should be their leader. They first crossed the moun- 
tains, and asked help of King Håkan, but he would by 
no means betray his father-in*law, and remained faith- 
ful to his alliance. They thence proceeded to t)enmark 
and Germany, and collected a great army with which 
they returned to Sweden gaining meanwhile many 
adherents. Birger Jarl on his side had also collected 
a large force, and met them at Herrewadsbro in West- 
manland drawing up on one side of the river, and his 
enemies on the other. As the Folkungar were them- 
selves very valiant, and were besides at the head of 
a numerous army, Birger began to doubt what the 
issue of the combat might be and sent his Chancellor, 
Kol, Bishop of Strengnas to request a personal inter- 
view in which it was possible they might be reconciled. 
The Ambassador, with many and solemn promises, as- 
sured the Folkungar of safety, and thus persuaded 
their chiefs to accompany him unarmed across the 
bridge. But they had scarcely reached the other side 
when Birger Jarl, heedless of the Bishop^s promises, 
seized and caused them to be beheaded on the spot 
(1252). In this manner fell Philip, son of Knut the 


Long; Knat^ the son of Magnus firok, and many 
others; and the leaders being thus slain, Birger at- 
tacked and easily dispersed their army. The Swedes 
were spared, but all the Germans who could be over- 
taken were by Birger mercilessly cut to pieces ; and 
by this victory he considered himself to have added 
greatly to the power of his family and established their 
rights to the crown; but was obliged to perform a 
heavy penance laid on him for his perjury by Arch- 
bishop Lars Lilje. 

But Bishop Kol was tormented by great sorrow and 
remorse for having, though innocently, contributed to 
this treachery; and thenceforward never again read 
mass or pronounced the benediction over the Lord's 
body with the same lips which had deceived so msiny. 
He built Kolbäck Church near Herrewad Bridge as 
an expiation for his crime, but never found peace again. 
He at last resigned his Bishop's office, forsook his 
native land, and commenced a pilgrimage to the Holy 
Sepulchre that he might there at least find rest. And 
so he did at last — ^in the grave. 



Though Junker Carl had been a partaker in the 
rebellion of the rest of his house, not having been 
present at Herrewad Bridge, he escaped the snare into 
which they fell. His and Birger's mutual friends now 
went between them, and succeeded at last in making f 
reconciliation, which however was not much to be 
depended on. They were certainly friends to appear- 
ance, and Birger Jarl showed Junker Carl much confi- 


dence and consideration: but their secret envy and 
distrust were so great that it is said they plotted 
against each other's lives. 

Junker Carl at last became weary of this sort of life^ 
and resolved to abandon the country while the Jarl 
lived and await abroad a return of the smiles of for- 
tune. He made his preparations by presenting his 
estate of Sko to Skokloster^ to the end that the monks 
there might read masses for the repose of his soul. 
The rest of his goods and landed property he sold ; 
and having by these means equipped himself and his 
servants, he set out for Prussia where he joined him- 
self to the Knights of the Sword who were established 
there. This Order had received the gift of a portion of 
Prussia on condition of converting, or at all events 
preventing the heathen of Esthonia and Lithuania from 
their piratical incursions; and at the time when Carl 
joined them, they were engaged in a violent war of 
this description. Soon after his arrival, a desperate 
engagement took place in which the heathens were far 
more numerous than the knights. Before the com*» 
mencement of the battle, one of their number asked 
Carl if he would go out to the combat, or remain at 
home; Junker Carl answered, "that he would surely 
go to the fight; he might cause the heathen some 
annoyance in it ; and even were he destined to fall, he 
would have gained Heaven and lost nothing upon 
earth." The battle began and raged long, so that the 
combatants were standing ancle-deep in blood. Jun- 
ker Carl fought bravely and manfully as did the 
Knights of the Sword; but as their numbers were very 
inferior their ranks began to thin. One of the Knights 
then cried to him that he should fly out of the battle 
as there was no more hope of victory. The young 


man looked round and answered : ^^ I see none of you 
fly, why do you give me such dishonourable advice ?*' 
But the Knight answered : " You must know, young 
Sir, that we Brothers of the Order have sworn an 
oath never to fear death or to fly before the heathens 
were we but three against a hundred. We also know 
for certain by the holy words of Scripture that the 
caldron which boils in hell is the portion of the heathen; 
but we belong to the Lord and our blood wiU not 
grow cold on the ground before our souls enter into 
the joys of Paradise !'* Then answered Junker Carl : 
*^ The same hope is also mine ; and have you vowed 
such bravery, know that is bom in my blood !" After 
this he recommenced the flght with redoubled valour; 
and heaps of heathen corpses who had fallen by his 
hand were afterwards drawn together to be burnt. 
But he was finally overpowered and fell there to- 
gether with all the knights who had been in the battle. 
When this was related to Birger Jarl, he said to his 
wife : ** God take his soul to Heaven 1 But well it was 
that we were parted so i" On this, he caused his 
death to be solemnized by ringing of bells, masses^ and 
as great honours as he could command. 



Birger Jarl^s first wife. Princess Ingeborg, died 
in 1254, and in 1261 ; he married Mechthild the Dow- 
ager Queen of Denmark. For his son Waldemar w 
was now twenty years old, and very comely and har 
some, he also sought a bride, viz., the Danish Prince 
Sophia, who was far renowned for her beauty a 


abilities. She was conducted to Sweden by her mo- 
therms father^ Albrecht Duke of Brunswick, together 
with many knights and ladies. The marriage was cele- 
brated in Jönköping, and a great hall was built on pur- 
pose for the festivities. The Swedish courtiers shone 
in new-fashioned dresses of precious stuffs; neither 
were good cheer, dances, games, and fair words, as well 
as tilts and tournaments wanting, and everything was 
conducted with modesty and courtesy according to the 
noble customs of the times. 

Birger Jarl was now thought the mightiest man in 
the north. His daughter was married to the King of 
Norway; his son was King of Sweden, and married to 
a Danish Princess ; himself all-powerfid in the land, 
first married to a Swedish Princess, now to a Danish 
Queen-Dowager, and to increase his consequence, he 
assumed the title of Duke,* never before used in 
Sweden. Many among the peasants however who did 
not understand these distinctions called him King, as 
he governed the whole kingdom and was married to a 
Queen besides. 

Birger's great power and consideration, however, were 
the cause of the country's enjoying continual peace, for 
no one ventured to attack him; on the contrary, his 
neighbours often took him as umpire in their differ- 

* After Burger's death, the charge of Jarl was annulled ; their 
former great power having often been dangerous to the Crown. 
The two highest charges after this were the Great Chancellor of 
Justice (Riksdrotset) who held the interior government of 
the kingdom, and the Lord Earl Marshal (Riksmarsken) who 
had the superintendence of the war department. To these was 
gradually added the office of Chancellor of the kingdom, (Riks- 
CanceUor) who was in the beginning but the King's private 
secretary, and generally a bishop or some other p iest ; the nobles 
of that time not possessing sufficient ability with the pen. 


enoes. Thus he settled the dispute between the Kings 
of Norway and Denmark ; and when, during internal 
dissensions in Denmark, King Christopher and the 
Archbishop of Lund disagreed^ Birger sat as judge 
over them at Fjellhem in Hålland, causing the one 
and then the other to lay their motives before him. 
On such occasions he was always accompanied by many 
high-bom Northern chiefs, and even Russian Princes 
followed bim seeking help and protection at his Court 
Birger himself avoided wars and dissensions, and 
though Queen Mechthild, through hatred to the Danish 
Queen, Margaret Spränghäst, sought to incite him 
to interfere in the troubles of Denmark, she was 
ainsuccessfiil ; and the country under him was per- 
mitted to enjoy peace and tranquiUity. 



All Birger JarPs brothers were remarkable men* 
Eskil was judge in West Gothland, and married to a 
woman of great importance in Norway. His other 
brother Charles was Bishop of Linköping ; his sister 
Magnhild was married to Harved Ulf or Trolle,* a 
very rich and powerful man. The third brother was 
called Bengt, and was judge in East Gothland. He 
conceived a violent passion for a noble damsel called 

* It is related that when Harved Ulf waa to fetch home his 
bride, some warriors rushed out of the wood to carry off Magnl 
by force, and their leader had disguised himself as a goblin, thai 
might the easier frighten her guards. But Harved, witb 
permitting this to alarm him, dealt the supposed gobUn so h 
a blow on the neck^ that his head flew off, whereupon 


Sigrid^ who was neither of a rich nor remarkable 
family, but was so beautiful that she was universally 
known as Sigrid the Fair. Birger Jarl would not hear 
of this, for he thought the maiden, though of noble 
birth, all too mean to match with his house ; but Judge 
Bengt followed not his brother's will in this matter, 
but married Sigrid without his consent. When the 
Jarl heard this, he sent Bengt a cloak, the one half 
of which was made of precious gold stuff, the other 
of coarse common baize, hinting thus at the difference 
of the families of Bengt and Sigrid, and intending 
to frighten him into a separation. But Bengt co- 
vered the coarse cloth with gold, pearls, and precious 
stones, so that the common side became as valuable, if 
not more so than the brocade, and then sent the cloak 
thus altered back to the Jarl without any other answer. 
This but irritated the Jarl the more who sent his 
greeting back with the messenger saying, **That he 
would speak face to face with his brother on this 
affair ;'^ adding, in his haste, some bitter threats which 
the messenger repeated word for word to Bengt. 

Shortly after the Jarl saddled his horses, and with 
a great company rode to Ulfåsa where Bengt lived 
intending to put an end to the matter. As soon as 
Bengt saw the JarPs train drawing near, he made 
his escape to the wood, leaving Sigrid to receive her 
irritated brother-in-law after having given her precise 
instructions how she was to conduct herself. She 

others fled terrified back into the forest again^ leaving Harved 
in peace to conduct his Magnhild home. From that day» Harved 
changed his arms, which had before been a wolf (Ulf; courant, 
and bore a headless gobUn (Troll) instead» adopting the name 
of Trolle instead of that of Ulf, and became the ancestor of 
the afterwards so celebrated Trolle family. 


therefore adorned herself with her most oostly robes 
and precioas ornaments^ which increased still more the 
lostre of her beauty ; and as the Jarl rode into the 
court, stepped forth^ bowed before him, and received 
him with all honour and courtesy. The Jarl was so 
moved by her beauty, that he leapt off his horse, 
and taking Sigrid in his arms, said : ^^ Had my brother 
not done this, I had done it myself!'* Whereupon, be 
permitted himself to be conducted into the house and 
entertained. Bengt was soon brought back out of the 
wood, and the former enmity of the brothers ended 
in a sincere and heartfelt reconciliation. 

Bengt Lagman and Sigrid the Fair lived after this 
many happy days together at Ulfåsa, and left a lai^ 
family of both sons and daughters. 



BiROER Jarl, during his government, much im- 
proved the old and faulty laws of the country, especially 
those of the provinces of Upland and East Gothland, 
and introduced many new ones, amongst which his city 
laws are particularly to be remarked composed of the 
Rights of Commerce formerly in use. 

It was before this period common in the North that 
every one should take revenge on his enemy for him- 
self, which so far from being forbidden by the laws 
was even considered more honourable than trusting 
legal redress. It was therefore accounted the partici 
duty of the nearest relatives, by the blood of the m 
derers to atone for the death of the murdered, whi 
was the origin of many long and bloody feuds t 
continually disturbed the peace of the kingdom. 


To prevent this, Birger Jarl forbid personal retalia* 
tion, ordering that every one should seek redress for 
the injuries he had received in the ordinary Courts of 
Justice. He further assured the quiet of the land by 
his four Laws for Peace ; viz : for the Peace of the 
Church, Women, House and Assize } Kyrkofrid, Qwin- 
nofrid. Hemfrid and Tingsfrid. 

He ordained that none should assault another, either 
in the Church or in the Churchyard, or even on the 
road to or from the Church. Whoever broke this ordi- 
nance was declared outlawed ; and should he even be 
slain by the wronged party was to be unavenged. 
This was called Kyrkofrid* or Church peace. At this 
time, the custom was adopted of unarming before en- 
tering Church. The arms were kept during service in 
an out-house built for the purpose^ which is to this day 
called the Weapon House. 

It was also a universal custom throughout the North, 
in courtship not only, not to regard the bride^s consent, 
but even not to consult her parents. Armed with 
sword and helmet, and accompanied by his brave com- 
panions in arms, the lover often presented himself, and 
if by fair words he could not succeed, he carried off the 
lady by force in which skirmish her father and brothers 
were often killed, and she constrained to marry a man 
whom she hated, who had murdered her nearest rela- 
tives, and in the most shameful manner treated herself. 
It was therefore not an uncommon occurrence that she 
revenged herself at the first fitting opportunity, even if 
»he waited for it for years. Sometimes she murdered 
her husband, or in other cases their common children, 

* As in these disquiet times, merchants had no security from 
violence in any other spot, they struck their booths by the 
churches, whence arose the first places for markets and commerce. 



to make the fatiher's sorrow and her own revenge the 
greater. Such rapes took place, especially when an 
affianced couple were travelling to the Church, or to a 
priest to be married. The rejected lover often laid him- 
self in am ush with his friends by the road, fell on the 
bridal party, slew the bridegroom, and carried oflF the 
bride. For this reason some stout youths were always 
appointed to protect the bride on these journeys, who 
received in consequence the title of bridesmen or bride 
servants. Birger Jarl caused a law to be published, 
that none should in this way disturb, or carry off a 
woman by force, without incurring the same punish- 
ment which he had before awarded for the breach of 
the law regarding the Peace of the Church, (Kyrkofirid). 
This was called Peace of Women (Qwinnofrid). 

For the establishment of general personal secarityj 
he forbid, under the same penalty, the attacking any 
man, his wife, children, or servants, within his own 
hotise or even the enclosure of his property. This 
was called Home-peace, or House-peace. 

He finally forbade in like manner all violence offered 
to those who were on the road to a Ting or at the Ting 
itself. This was called Tingsfrid. 

Birger Jarl greatly improved the method of convict- 
ing criminals at the seats of justice. This had before 
his time been conducted in a variety of ways. The 
judge sometimes ordered a single combat between the 
disputants in the belief that God would assist the 
innocent ; but the Courts of Justice were always beset 
by mercenary combatants, who hired themselves 
such occasions ; and he who was able to pay the stro. 
est champion was sure to gain the cause. Another ti 
the judge commanded the trial by fire, which consis 
in the accused either passing over nine red hot ploiu 


shares, or else carrying a red hot iron on bis bare arms. 
Could he accomplish this uninjured, his innocence was 
considered to be proved by Heaven. These forms of 
justice had it is true been before forbidden, but were 
still in use till Birger Jarl put a stop to them entirely. 

In the remotest periods, fathers often possessed 
nothing to leave to their children but their arms. 
These consisted for the most part in arrows, which in 
the old language were called Arf, whence that word is 
now used for every kind of inheritance. As daugh- 
ters did not require these weapons, the custom arose 
that they should have no inheritance ; but it went ac- 
cording to a proverb in West Gothland " to the hat, 
from the cap.*^ Women besides had no right to anything 
in their husband's houses, but were considered to be 
amply provided for by the dower* which they got, and 
"were treated according to their husband's pleasure. 
Birger Jarl decreed that the daughters should inherit 
half as much as the sons, and that the [wife should 
possess a right to a third of the husband's property. 

Another custom of the times was, that poor people 
gave themselves away as slaves and household property 
to the rich on condition of being provided for till 
death. Such were called Gift- Slaves; but Birger Jarl 
put a stop to this habit also, thinking it by no means 
justifiable that one man should be slave to another. 

It had also been customary when vessels were 
wrecked, that they should be plundered by people of the 
coast, and the survivors made slaves, the inhabitants 
believing, or pretending to believe, that they must be 
Viking vessels. The dwellers of the Skares thought 

* This was called Hindradagsgäf, or Morning-gift, being the 
present which the husband gave to his wife on the morning 
following their wedding.— author. 

VOL. I. L 


proper to treat all shipwrecked persons in this manner, 
though at this time the inhabitants of the shores of 
the Baltic had been baptized, and the piracies of the 
Vikings had entirely ceased. 

This inhuman custom Birger strove to abolish and 
was strongly supported by the clergy. The Archbishop 
even gave a hundred days' indulgence to those who 
assisted the shipwrecked; while he who plundered 
them was ex -communicated together with his whole 
parish, and if he died during his excommunication his 
body was to be thrown into the sea. 

By these and several similar enactments, the Jarl 
introduced gentler morals^ and juster mode of thought 
amongst the people, and their manner^ even gradually 
acquired a finer polish. The fire which had formerly 
burnt on a great hearth in the centre of the floor, the 
smoke wandering out through a hole in the roof was 
now banished to the end of the hall, and confined 
within a proper fire-place to which regular chimnies 
were built. Beakers or rummers were introduced 
instead of drinking-Korns, and the fine clothes of 
foreign countries came gradually into wear. 



Many old stories are in circulation about the origin 
of Stockholm. The people relate in an old song, that one 
of the Bishops of Strengnas's fishermen once cau*'^* 
a magnificent salmon, which he, thinking much too g' 
for the Bishop's table, said according to the ballad 

Salmon, Salmon Lerebate ! 

Ye shall not come on Bishop's plate. 


To which the Bishop answered : 

To this my Bishop's word I plight. 

That thou shall sleep i' the tower to night. 

But the fisher replied again : 

My oaken boat which sails so free. 
Shall settle soon 'twixt him and me. 

On which he escaped from Tynnels Island on which 
was the Bishop's castle, and is said to be the first who 
established himself at Stock-Island (Stockholm). 

Others relate that when Sigtuna was destroyed by 
the Esthonians, its former inhabitants enclosed a quan- 
tity of gold and silver in a log or stock and threw it 
into the Lake with the intention of settling and build- 
ing a new town where this beam should come ashore. 
It is said to have been found on the Riddarholm, where 
it is reported to be still preserved in the old grey tower 
on the north-west side. This then is said to be the 
origin of the name Stock-holm, and the expelled citizens 
of Sigtuna, according to this legend, its first inhabitants. 
The town was very small, and occupied that island 
alone, on which the city now stands. It was not till 
later that the shores on each side the straits, which 
were then uninhabited and covered with thick forests, 
were rendered fit for building, and at this day when 
digging under the streets which now cover those spots, 
the remains of boats and wrecks are sometimes found. 

On this island, Birger Jarl caused two strong towers 
to be built, and called the one on the site of the 
present palace, the Three Crowns. He joined these 
towers by two walls, along which the old streets wound. 
This fortification was intended to defend the entrance 
to the lake, and the city was afterwards built according 

L 2 



to the fiishion of the times with narrow streets crowded 
with the gable ends of high houses. Birger himself 
was the fomider of the first Church, which is that 
called Stor Kyrkan or the High Church. The excel- 
lent position for commerce of the new town soon made 
it a place of increasing resort ; it grew in size, and 
still bears witness to the great judgment of its founder. 



That he might have his sons richer and more 
powerful than any otiier, and thus ensure the crown to 
them, Birger divided the kingdom between them in 
1254. Waldemar was King; Magnus^ Duke of Söder- 
manland ; Bengt, who was to have been a Bishop^ was 
made Duke of Finland ; and Erik, Duke of Smahmd. 

The Jarl died at last at Hjelmbolund, a.d. 1266, 
and was buried in the Monastery of Wamhem by the 
side of his first wife the Princess Ingeborg. 






After the JarFs death, the kingdom was divided as 
he had appointed, and theaiithority of the King thus 
much circumscri^d by that, of his brothers. As WaU 
demar was besides greatly addicted to plensure and 
luxury, his consideration declined, while tliat of Duke 
Magnus, who was active and ambitious, speedily in^ 
creased on its ruins. The latter held a magnificent 
Court in Nykö{ung and made his knights and courtiers 
often hold tournaments and other knightly sports, that 
they might be experienced and expert in war; and for 
these reasons the boldest Mid most ambitious spirits 
joined the Duke by preference. This did not faU to 
excite much envy and hatred in the mind of the King, 
which enmity was increased by his Queen. Her royal 
husband was as handsome in person as in face; and 
proud of this distinction she nick-named Duke Ma^us, 
as he was very thin and of a dark complexion, Kittel- 
botaren, or the Kettie-mender. Her other brother-in» 
law, Duke Erik, who was gentie and quiet, she named 
Erik Ingenting (Nothing). These jokes were, however, 
carried to the Duke's ears, and Magnus promised that 
he would be sure enough one day to mend Queen 
Sophia's kettles for her. 




Queen Sophia bad at one time made an excursion 
to Denmark to visit her family, and after her return, 
her sister, Princess Juta, was seized with a longing to 
see her again. She had been formerly a nun and 
Prioress in the Convent of Roskild, but finding the 
sisters too strict for her, she had abandoned the con- 
vent, and resumed by force the property which she had 
presented to it. Her guardians begged her to accept 
one of the noble rivals for her hand ; but she declared 
she would die a maid, and desired nothing so much as 
to visit her sister Sophia in Sweden. She was, therefore, 
furnished with a suitable company, and escorted to that 
country where she was received like an angel from 
Heaven. She found peculiar favour in Waldemar's 
eyes, for she was both beautiful and young ; but as she 
was also very flighty, she permitted herself to be capti- 
vated by him, so that the whole Court knew of their 
unlawful love, and Juta finally gave birth to a son in 
1 273.* At this news Sophia mourned to such a d^ree 
that she lost both her colour and her beauty, and her 
former gaiety departed. The whole country was struck 
with horror and detestation of the King's great crime, 
for not only was Juta his sister-in-law, but even a pro- 
fessed nun, and Waldemar was himself obliged to 
undertake a journey to the Pope in Rome to try to 
obtain his forgiveness. 

* The noble family of Lejonhufoud are descended fronr 
grandson of this Prince ; and in memory of their royal Ih 
blood, bore first the three leopards of Denmark» but aften 
only three lions' heads in their shield. 




On his return from Rome, Waldemar caused a Diet 
to be called at Strengnas, in which the long-stifled 
enmity of the brothers broke out. In vain the Bishops 
and great Lords strove to reconcile them ; in vain their 
brother Bengt offered to divide the half of his Duchy 
of Finland amongst them. Waldemar set out for 
Stockholm, and Magnus for Denmark, whence he re- 
ceived supplies of men and money from King Erik, 
Thus prepared, he returned and broke in on West 
Gothland where he received much support, especially 
from Duke Erik, who resented Queen Sophia's having 
called him Erik Ingenting. Waldemar, on the other 
hand, collected a large force in the north, and marched 
with it through Nerike, stopping himself at Ramun-^ 
deboda with his Queen and the best of his troops ; but 
letting the whole peasant force pass before him into 
West Gothland. Scarcely had they advanced as far as 
Hofva, before Duke Magnus fell upon them. The pea- 
sants, without a leader, and unaccustomed to such mail- 
clad riders as the troops of Magnus, soon fell into dis- 
order, were beaten and fled on every hand, hiding them- 
selves in woods and morasses. During this time. King 
Waldemar was taking his siesta in Ramundeboda, and 
Queen Sophia playing chess, and speaking contemptu- 
ously of Magnus, the Kettlemender. But at that moment 
a rider came flying from the fight with bloody armour 
and foam-covered steed, related the Duke's victory 
and advised the King to make his escape, for the present, 
till he could again assemble his scattered forces; but 
Waldemar was too frightened to think of anything but 
his personal safety, so he fled through Wermeland to 


Norway, where he left his son under the care of a 
Norwegian chief. 

Magnus put his advantage to profit. Waldemar^s 
troops, which had fled to Nerike, were entirely dis- 
persed, and he reached Upsala unopposed, where he 
immediately caused himself to be crowned by the 
priests whose rights and privileges he confirmed. He 
had despatched some horsemen firom Hofva to overtake 
the flying King ; they came up with him as he sate at 
table in a village in Wermeland, and conducted hira to 
Magnus* Then said Waldemar very humbly : ^^ I am 
now come to you at your mercy; do with me according 
to your own virtue, and not according to the lies of evil 
men. Give me my paternal inheritance, and then let 
us be friends/' Magnus promised him mercy^ and 
said: ^^he would treat his brother in a manner that 
all should approve.^' Hereon he called a Diet (a.d. 
1275) in which he left the whole kingdom of Gotha to 
Waldemar, but reserved that of Sweden to himself^ and 
retained its crown and kingly title. 

Waldemar was, however, not long satisfied with 
this partition, and crossed over to Norway seeking 
assistance. A meeting was appointed between both 
sovereigns in which he claimed the whole kingdom of 
Sweden, and the Norwegian monarch supported his 
demand till it appeared that Magnus would not give up 
any part of what he already possessed, and then the 
former did not choose to enter into a war with Sweden 
for Waldemar's sake. 

Waldemar next turned to King Erik of Denma 
who was at war with Magnus, because the loan wh 
he, while Duke, had received from Denmark was s^ 
unpaid. Erik received Waldemar kindly, who resum 
courage in consequence, and began boasting, that ^^ 


Magnus had driren himself out by Danish arms^ so 
would he expel Magnus by the same means/' But 
after the Swedes had committed depredations in Skåne> 
and the Danes in West Gothland^ the Kings came to 
terms. Magnus promised to. pay his debt, and Walde^ 
mar remained without a friend. He was^ therefore, 
formally compelled to resign the kingdom to his brother, 
and afterwards returned to Denmark. As he^ however> 
at a later period entered into further plots against King 
MagnuS) he was finally made prisoner and kept in strict 
confinement in Nyköping Castle. Meanwhile, after 
Sophia's death, he had given himself up to vicious 
courses, and consoled himself thus for the loss of his 



Immediately after taking possession of the throne, 
Magnus courted a very beautiftd and virtuous Princess, 
named Hedwig of Holstein, and soon after celebrated 
his nuptials with her. By this union, as well as by his 
love of magnificence and foreign customs, many 
foreigners were introduced into the kingdom, and were 
highly favoured by the King. Duke Peter Porze of 
Halland enjoyed great consideration, and was so power- 
ful, that having once invited the King as his guest to 
Axewalla Castle, he held him prisoner there till he 
made preparation for paying his debt to the Danish 
crown ; but in spite of this audacity, Porze remained in 
as great favour as before. 

Another Dane, named Ingemar, was honoured with 
several large fiefs in the country, and one of the King^s 

L 3 


^relations in marriage. As I^e surpassed the Swedish 
nobles in courtesy and all knighUy accomplishments, 
many of them took him in aversion, especially as he 
behaved with great arrogance towards them. The 
Folkungar were, however, the most indignant at it, as 
they were still very powerful in the country ; they com- 
plained to the King of his preference for foreigners, and 
said to Ingemar in express terms that they ^' would 
like to know why the King had lifted him up on their 
shoulders ? And that he might come to know that they 
were in all his equals^ and did not intend to su£Fer this 
any more.^' But Sir Ingemar answered boldly: "that 
he thanked the King and not them for his good fortune, 
and that they might be as wroth as they pleased ; but 
he hoped it would turn but little to their profit;^' and 
so they parted, on either side not much satisfied with 
this conversation. 

Shortly after. Queen Hedwig with her father, the 
Duke of Holstein, visited Skara, and Ingemar was of 
their party. The angry Folkungar took counsel how 
they should punish their rival, and arming their friends 
and servants, attacked the noble company at Skara. 
The Queen made her escape in alarm, and hid herself 
in a convent ; but Sir Ingemar was soon put to death ; 
the Duke was imprisoned in Ymseborg in West Goth- 
land, while the rebels collected their forces and took 
Jönköping which they intended to defend against the 
King. It was even said that the deposed King, Wal- 
demar, at this news came to Jönköping in the hope '^^ 
regaining his crown, which he had several tim 
formally renounced. 

Magnus was thrown into the utmost consternation a 
alarm as well on account of the danger his Queen and L 
father-in*law, as of the alarming power of the Folkung 


which might be further increased by Waldemar's parti- 
zans. He therefore wrote courteous and friendly letters 
to them, praising their zeal for their country which 
would not allow them to endure foreigners and foreign 
fortune-hunters ; and by these arts gained the liberty of 
Hedwig and her father, after which he invited the chiefs 
of the rebel party to Skara, that he might consult them 
on the general weal. They arrived without suspicion, 
and were immediately seized by the King's people and 
imprisoned in the same castle in which they surprised 
Sir Ingemar. Hence they were conveyed to Stockholm 
where two of them were beheaded, and the third was 
ohliged to purchase his life at the expense of almost his 
whole property. 



King Magnus was very severe and strict in all that 
regarded the laws, and obedience to them. He con- 
firmed and strictly exacted the enactment of the 
four laws for peace which his father Birger Jarl had 
made ; and Folke Algotson, who carried off a Swedish 
maiden named Ingrid, who was affianced to the Chan- 
cellor of Denmark was obliged for thus having broken 
the Qwinnofrid to fly the country with many of 
his relations ; and, though they were rich and powerful, 
to pay heavy fines besides. 

In 1280, the King assembled a Diet in Skenninge, 
where many important resolutions were taken. 1^. Peace 
was to be kept fourteen days before the King's 
arrival at any place and fourteen days after he had left 
it. This was called the King's peace. 2^. All oppro- 


brions appellations or afironts offered to the King's men, 
or any of his courtiers were expressly forbidden. 3^. He 
who had been afironted was not to revenge himselfj 
but to seek redress by law. 4^. Widows and fatherless 
children were considered to be under the Swing's spedal 
protection, and those who wronged them were to incur 
a severe penalty. 5^. To diminish for Government the 
expenses of the people at assizes, and the journeys 
of the great nobles. The number of followers each was 
to have in his suite was fixed to forty horses for a Duke; 
thirty for a Bishop ; twelve for the King's Counsellors. 
A knight and a priest were to have four, and so on. 

The King assembled another Diet at Also in l2S5y 
in which he issued" a very severe proclamation against 
Lodging by Force. An innkeeper was appointed for 
every village who was to determine what peasant 
was to lodge the travellers ; he who refused this duty 
was to be fined four marks; but the traveller who 
did not pay his expenses, or yet worse, wanted to help 
himself by force to the peasant's property, exposed 
himself to severe punishment. As Bang Magnus kept 
to these enactments very strictly, the quiet and se- 
curity of the land were greatly improved. The peasants 
thought that the King by them hung a safe lock 
to their bams, and therefore called him Magnus 
Laduslas,^ which surname he has since retained. 

In former times every Swedish man was bound, 
at the King's summons, to present himself perfectly 
ready for war ; that is to say, according to the fashion of 
that day, with shield, helmet, sword, bow, and thr 
dozen of arrows, as well as provisions for a considera) 
time. But another style of warfare had already be( 
introduced in the south of Europe. The knights we 
* Lada, barn; Lås, lock. 


<dad in mail from head to foot^ their very horses were 
covered with plates of iron^ and their arms were a sword 
and very long lance. So strongly defended, they little 
dreaded the blows or arrows of the infantry ; and when 
a serried troop of such riders holding their long lances 
in rest, rushed against the infantry as it was first 
equipped, it was impossible for them to make re- 
sistance. They were pierced by the lances before they 
could in any way get at their antagonists ; the first 
line fell, the ranks were broken, and the rest were 
trampled under the feet of the heavy horses. In the 
war with Denmark, Magnus saw the use of such ca- 
valry, and wished to introduce it, but the poor could not 
afford the armour. He therefore offered that whoever 
equipped a horse and rider for the Eang's service 
should enjoy perfect freedom from every other tax on 
his estate. Such an estate was then called frälse or 
free, and its owner frälseman; and this was the origin of 
the freedom from taxation of the noble classes and 
their ground. With the knightly armour, the distinc* 
tions on the shields were also adopted, whence arose 
the heraldry of Sweden as well as that of other 



There were many in the kingdom who hated King 
Magnus for his treachery, not only to his own brother 
Waldemar, but towards the rebellious Folkungar ; and 
he knowing this was in continual alarm of conspiracies 
and insurrections. To the end that he might gain 
more friends, he loaded the clergy with favours. He 


founded the convent of the Sisters of St. Claire, and 
the Franciscan monastery in the capital, (since changed 
into the Clara Church, and that of Riddarholm), and 
many others throughout the kingdom ; and enlarged the 
privileges of the dei^ considerably. För this reason 
they were devoted to him, and the Pope by a peculiar 
Bull in his favour, took him under his own especial 
protection, and excommunicated all those who should 
cabal against him. He collected many of the nobility 
round him by the pomp and knightly manners of his 
Court, and particularly by instituting knighthood. At 
the foundation of the Convent of St. Claire, mention is 
made, for the first time, of the dubbing of knights in 
Sweden, and it is thought that the Seraphim Order 
(the highest in the kingdom) was instituted by him on 
this occasion. This honour was much sought after, as 
it gave higher distinction than that of a mere man-at- 
arms, and a knight's wife alone was allowed to be 
called Lady. Magnus was also strongly supported by 
the peasantry, whom he protected against the oppres- 
sions of the rich. This was the cause of his being 
chosen King by the inhabitants of the Island of Goth- 
land which had been independent, but was henceforth 
united to the Swedish crown. 

By means of the large gifts which the crown had in 
the course of some reigns made to the convents and 
churches, and by the non-taxation of both clergy and 
nobility, the royal revenues had dwindled to such a 
degree that they did not suffice to cover the expenses 
of the Court, especially with so pomp-loving a Kin] \ 
Magnus. He, therefore, not venturing to lay on i ^ 
taxes, summoned to that effect a Diet in Stockhok t 
1282, in which, first a strict examination, and the i 
proportionate tax was laid on every acre of arable 1: 


Besides this, it was determined that ail large indraughts, 
and mines as well at that time as in future, and all 
large forests should be considered royal property, and 
those who worked them should pay a rent to the King. 

Before his death, Magnus caused his eldest son Birger 
to be crowned and appointed Riksmarsken (the Earl 
Marshal); Torkel Knutsson to govern the kingdom 
during Birger's childhood. His other sons he made 
Dukes of different provinces of the kingdom, that they 
might be the first men in the realm, and thus King 
Magnus thought he had secured to his descendants the 
power and might which he had acquired by rebellion 
against his brother, and confirmed by the treacherous 
murder of his relatives. 

Magnus Laduslas died in 1290 at Wisingsö. The 
peasants whose friend he had been carried his body 
with many tears to Stockholm. The knights foUowed 
the corpse, and it was buried, according to his own 
desire, before the altar of the Franciscan Church; 
xnimy funeral masses being sung over it, and other 
solemnities performed, with which the priests honoured 
the memory of their benefactor. 






Magnus Laduslas left three Princes, viz. Birger, 
who had ahready been proclaimed King, Erik and 
Waldemar ; but as they were all very young, the Earl 
Marshal, Torkel Knutsson, stood at the head of afiJEiirs. 
This Torkel was a very wise and prudent man ; bold 
and determined when it was requisite, so that the 
kingdom was well administered ; and felt no want as 
long as he governed it. Old King Waldemar who had 
been kept by his brother, Magnus Laduslas, in strict 
confinement in Nyköping Castle, received more freedom 
from the Marshal. He was permitted to move about 
accompanied by a guard : several apartments were 
assigned to his use; he was allowed his own kitchen, 
pages, chamberlains, and everything else he required. 
Waldemar's son. Junker Erik, was shut up in Stock- 
holm Castle till his father's death to prevent distur- 
bances ; but the Marshal provided him richly with all 
he could require. 

Torkel Knutsson was zealous in every thing tl 
could tend to confirm and increase the royal author 
He therefore determined to lower the great pc 
of the clergy by whom the royal revenues were 
materially decreased ; and to this end proposed that tl 


should contribute to the expenses of war^ as well as 
submit to the fines imposed for breaking the King's 
peace. The priests, however, were displeased with äiis 
restriction on their privileges, but did not venture to 
object though the Pope in a threatening Bull remon- 
strated against the Marshal's encroachments, and re* 
proached the Bishops with their cowardice. Still 
Torkel Knutsson was not to be frightened, and pro- 
ceeded in 1299 to exact poor-rates from the cl(»gy. 
The Bishops now protested, but in vain; the Bishop 
of Westerås who was boldest was obliged to fly to 
Norway, and the others did not venture to oppose the 



King Erik the Holy had converted and subdued 
the south of Finland and Birger Jarl Tavasteland, but 
the east still remained almost heathen. This part was 
called Kyrialand, or Karelen, and the Karelians, its in* 
habitants, were a wild and ungovernable people who 
lived a savage and solitary life in their immense forests, 
and worshipped their idols. Jumal was the name they 
gave their good Divinity, and Perkel, the evil God, who 
were said often to strive together, and throw each other 
over great mountains. The figures of these and other 
inferior divinities cut in wood were kept by the people 
in their huts, but they had wide open places of sacrifice 
in the forests with a stone in the centre. When the 
Karelian had approached the stone within a certain 
distance, he uncovered his head, laid himself down on 
the ground, and in the utmost silence crawled on to the 


Stone wbere he made his sacrifice of the horns and 
bones of rein-deer and elks. If they were in any 
danger they sacrificed goats, cats, and cocks, and 
sprinkled their idols with the blood. These people 
were very bitter against the Christians, and sometimes 
burst out of their thick forests, committing the most 
dreadful devastations on their neighbours, flaying them, 
drawing out their entrails, and treating them in the 
most cruel manner. 

The Regent determined to put a stop to these pro- 
ceedings, and therefore sailed with a strong army to 
Finland, 1293. There was no possibility for the heathen 
to make any resistance, so they were speedily conquered. 
He built a fort at Wiborg to keep them in order, and 
there garrisoned a strong force, while Bishop Peter of 
Westerås who had accompanied the expedition laboured 
assiduously for the conversion of the people. The 
Russians having assisted the KareUans in this war, the 
Regent took their Castle Kexholm, where he placed 
Sigge Lake as Governor, and then returned home. 
This is the first time the Swedish and Russian forces 
met in combat. 

Many festivals were celebrated with great solemnity 
on the Regent's return. Erik Menwed, £ang of Den- 
mark, first solemnized his marriage (1296) in Helsing" 
borg, with King Berger's sister Ingeborg, and after-» 
wards King Birger was married in Stockholm (1298) 
to the Princess Martha, the Danish Bang's sister. The 
old chronicles describe these festivities particularly* 
The royal pairs were dressed in damask and clotb '^^ 
gold ; their horses were covered with precious stu 
and there was not only mead and ale in abundance 
also wine, both white and red. There was heard 
sound of pipe, and drum, and trumpet, as well at 


dance as at the tournament. The King sat under a 
canopy looking on the combat^ and so brave and cour- 
teous were the knights, that Gavion and Percival would 
not have conducted themselves better. Chief amongst 
them all was Duke Erik^ for he was considered not only 
the handsomest and most chivalrous^ but also so cour- 
teous and mild^ that he is described as an angel from 
Heaven, and all who saw him wished him well. 



Meanwhile the garrison of Kexholm began tö 
suffer from want of provisions, which inclined some to 
abandon the fortress altogether. Sigge Lake however 
would by no means be induced to betray his orders, 
but remained there with the bravest of his men, while 
the others withdrew under pretence of sending rein- 
forcements and supplies from home, but none arrived. 
The Russians meanwhile who had received intimation 
of the state of affairs at Wiborg collected around it, 
and carried on the siege night and day. Sigge Lake 
certainly made a brave resistance, but the provisions 
began to run short. He defended himself however 
manfully, but at last the garrison having been several 
days without food, they determined to cut their way 
through the enemy. Sigge Lake put himself at the 
head of his company, opened the gates and rushed 
out on the besiegers. A great slaughter followed in 
which the Swedes at first prevailed, but as they were 
exhausted by want of food, and the Russians in much 
greater numbers, they were overcome. Sigge Lake 
fell with all his followers, two only excepted who sue-» 


ceeded in cattiiig thdr way throng the enemy's ranks, 
and brought this melancholy news to Sweden. 

The R^;ent then collected another army with which 
he sailed up the Neva» Not meeting any enemy, he 
commenced building on an island in the riv^ a strong 
fortress which he called Landscrona, and furnished with 
provisions for the garrison. The Russians thinking 
this new settlement very prejudicial to them as it 
stopped all conmiunication on the Neva, collected to 
the number of thirty thousand against the Swedes. 
They first constructed great p3^es of dry wood, as 
high as houses, on floats, set fire to them, and let them 
float down the stream intending by this means to bum 
Che whole Swedish fleet. But the Regent erected strong 
bulwarks, and cast thick iron chains across the stream 
which caught the burning piles, till they were consumed 
to the water's edge, by which means he saved his fleet. 
The Russians finding this stratagem of no efiiect,. an* 
dertook the siege of the castle, and that with such 
violence, that they did not care how many of them 
fell ; but the fortress had such good walls, and was so 
stoutly defended, that they could make nothing of tbe 
attack. At last Matts Kettilmundson, a young and 
brave knight, made a sally, and drove away the enemy 
with great loss. A portion of the Russian cavalry, to 
the amount of one thousand men, halted at a litde 
distance from the fortress in a wood, where their ar^ 
mour and gay caparisons gleamed in the sunlight» As 
the Swedes on the fortress walls were contemplating 
this. Matts Kettilmundson presented himself, and s. ' ' 
that with the Regent's permission, " he would vent? 
a brush with the bravest among the enemy.'' Hav 
guned permission, he buckled on his armour, took 
arms, and had his horse led out, on which he lei 


The Swedes mounted the ramparts to see the strife^ but 
when the knight had got across the ditch, he turned 
round, and saluting them^ bade them '^ live happily^ for 
as regarded himself, it depended on God in Heaven if 
he was to return with a vanquished foe, or if another 
fate awaited him/^ He then advanced boldly towards 
the enemy, and sent an interpreter with a challenge 
declaring that the Swedish knight was ready to fight 
with the bravest among the Russians for life, goods and 
freedom. The Russian King collected his knights at 
this summons, but not one had a fancy to try his for- 
tune with Sir Matthew. He therefore sat the whole 
day before the Russians, and waited in vain. Towards 
evening he rode back into the castle, and was received 
with much joy and praise of his courage. The next 
morning the Russians had evacuated the ground. 

The Swedish army now began to long for home, so 
that after having provided Landscrona with provision, 
and garrisoned it with three hundred men, under com- 
mand of a knight called Swen, the Regent prepared his 
fleet for the return of the rest of his troops. But as 
the ships were detained many days by contrary wind. 
Matts Kettilmundson landed with many of his men 
and their horses, and making depredatory excursions 
into the interior of the country ravaged all Ingerman. 
land in this manner. After this, loaded with booty, he 
regained the ships, and accompanied the Regent on his 
homeward voyage. 

The army returned with joy and victory home to 
Sweden, and joy and gladness they found before them 
there, for King Birger's eldest son Magnus was just 
bom in the Castle of Stockholm, and over the whole 
kingdom the birth of the future heir of the crown was 
celebrated with festivities and rejoicing» 


Meanwhile the proirisions in Landscrona, had begun 
to spoil as summer advanced) because the new walls 
were yet damp. This occasioned scurvy and many 
other diseases among the garrison, so that the mortality 
was great. Some proposed sending home to ask for 
help, others objected, " not wishing to grieve the Mar- 
shal they preferred awaiting some other help firom 
Heaven.^' The Russians soon gathered round the 
fortress to storm it, and it was found that there were 
then but twenty men in a condition to bear arms to 
defend it. As the Russians carried on the siege briskly, 
and as fresh troops continually supplied the place of 
those who had fallen, the walls were gradually gained. 
The Swedes retired fighting, but the Russians set the 
houses on fire, when the Governor and some others, 
flinging down their arms, were willing to surrender, 
but were at once cut to pieces. The survivors per- 
ceiving this sought refuge in a stone cellar, where they 
defended themselves manfully, and it was impossible 
for the enemy to force them to submit until they had 
sworn to grant them their lives, on which the Swedes 
surrendered and were carried away into the interior of 
the country ; the fortress of Landscrona was razed 
to the ground (1300) and such was the termination of 
the war. 


THE brothers' ENMITY. 

Shortly after King Birger was crowned in SÖ4 
köping with much solemnity, and Duke Waldemar • 
married at the same time with great pomp to Christ 
youngest daughter of the Regent, whose conseqm 


T^ras at this time at the highest Shortly after he made 
liimself a second marriage with a German Countess, 
and the King and the Dukes were present at the nup- 
tials* On the last day of the marriage feasts^ the 
Marshal called the brothers together and resigned his 
authority, begging them "to choose a younger and 
more active servant than he" But the brothers said 
they could never find a better than Torkel Knutsson, 
and as the King's affairs were the most weighty, they 
begged the Marshal to remain at his side, and chose 
Ambjörn Sixtensson Sparre as Chief Officer for the 

This was the commencement of disunion among the 
brothers, and some even went so far as to say that 
Duke Erik sought the means of acting in the same way 
with his brother Birger, as their father Magnus had 
done with his brother Waldemar. This enmity first 
broke out openly at an entertainment at Aranas, Torkel 
Knutsson's house, where the King forced from his 
brothers a written promise of never undertaking any 
thing against himself or against his will. After this 
they separated ; but no sooner had the King reached 
Wisingsö, than he sent after the brothers requiring 
their immediate presence. The Duke's friends coun- 
selled them against trusting themselves in the Eang's 
hands, but Erik took courage and set out. The King 
received him ill, and desired a Bishop to read all the 
articles of complaints against the Dukes. The Bishop 
excused himself from the office as not in his province, 
and it was done by a knight. The heads of complaints 
were: "1^ That the Dukes had exported a great quan- 
tity of visions against the King's orders. 2®. That they 
rode with the King's enemies through the country, and 
that they had broken the King's peace, 3^ That the 


Dake^s servant had given the King's gate-keeper a hox 
on the ear. 4*^. That they carried themselves so haughtily, 
that the Dukes* men always gained the victory over 
the King's men at tilts and tournaments; and that 
Matts Kettilmundson had his hand in this doing every 
thing in contempt of the King/* 

Here Birger stood up : " Had I not given you safe 
conduct here^ you should experience other than this. 
You shall, as it is, have peace till sunset ; but know^ 
that wheresoever afterwards you may fall in my hands, 
it will go ill with you/' Duke Erik then humbly 
asked if he had free permission to withdraw unmolested, 
which the King granted and the Duke acted upon it 
without delay. 



The Dukes and their most devoted friends escaped 
first to Denmark; but finding King Erik sided with his 
brother-in-law the Swedish monarch, they addressed 
themselves to Håkan of Norway, to whose only daughter 
Ingeborg Duke Erik was affianced. They were there 
kindly received, and Erik got Konghälla (the town 
now called Kongelf) and the neighbouring provinces 
as a fief, from which they made continual inroads into 
the country, and founded the fortress of Dalaborg, 
burnt Lödöse where Gotemburgh now stands, though 
King Birger had founded a fortress close to it to p 
tect the country against the Dukes. The King d 
patched an army under the command of eight knigl 
to free West Gothland from these incursions ; but 1 
knights stopped at Gullspangself between the lal 


Skagern and Wener, and destroying the bridge ima- 
gined themselves in security. Matts Kettilmundson, 
liowever, found his way there with his knights in the 
middle of a dark night ; and some wading, some swim* 
ming their horses over the stream, they fell unexpect- 
edly on the King's people, took them prisoners, and 
mastered all their effects. The King now began to 
dread his brothers in earnest, and ordering a force of 
twenty thousand men to GuUspang, commenced him- 
self the siege of Dalaborg, whose garrison had ravaged 
the neighbouring country, and ruined the peasantry. 
Duke Erik meanwhile, with an army which King Håkan 
bad put under his command, advanced against his bro- 
ther ; but when they were at about three miles' dis- 
tance, their hearts softened towards each other, and 
they signed a peace (1305.) The Dukes were to retain 
what their father had left them, and their former enmity 
be mutually forgotten and forgiven. They were, how- 
ever, to pay homage to Magnus, Birger's son, who 
during these troubles had been chosen his father's suc- 
cessor on the Swedish throne. 

From this time the King and his brothers seemed to 
be thoroughly reconciled ; and the Dukes said it was, 
Torkel Knutsson who had made such ill-will between 
t^em. Some overhearing this, and warning the Marshal 
of the King's changed mind towards him, of which Duke 
Erik was said to be cause, he answered, " that he never 
had done anything against the King's command, and • 
wished that he had served God as he had served his 
sovereign." But no great time intervened before the 
King and his brothers, with many knights and a great 
train, came unexpectedly to Lena where the Marshal 
lived, and took him prisoner. When the Marshal saw 
the King, he said, *^This shameful betrayal of me, 

VOL. I. M 


King, will be to your eternal shame/' On which he 
was led out, set on a horse with his feet tied under the 
horse's body, and so they rode off, carrying the old man 
to Stockholm, for they dreaded his friends and relations. 
He was now accused of having made disunion between 
the members of the royal family, and having ruined the 
kingdom by his great magnificence and proud livmg, 
particularly after his last marriage. Many sent in pe- 
titions in his favour; but the King and his brothers were 
immoveable. Duke Waldemar separated from the Mar- 
shal's daughter, under pretence that having had the 
same godfathers they were related within the degrees 
which the Church, without an especial permission from 
the Pope, found unlawful. 

Sir Folke Johanson came at last to the Marshal, and 
informing him that the King had ordered his death, 
Pegged his forgiveness for this message, for which he 
was himself very sorry. The Marshal was then led out 
of the town to the south side, where his grave was dug 
before his eyes in unconsecrated ground, and his head 
was then struck off with a sword. A cabin with a cross 
and altar were erected over his grave, in which masses 
were sung for the rest of his soul, and all who passed on 
their way to or from town, stopped to offer up prayers 
for his repose. The following spring his relations 
got the King's permission to take up the body and bury 
it in the Franciscan Church, which was done with much 
ceremony. And King Birger imagined that by the 
Marshal's death, he and his brothers were reconciled 
for ever. 




The same year, 1306, the Dukes made a great enter- 
tainment at Bjelbo, for the marriage of five of their 
servants, inviting a large company from far and near. 
In the midst of this feasting, they secretly despatched 
bodies of men, some to Hundhammar, some to their 
estates in Upland, appointing a rendezvous with their 
people at a given period. On this they rode mth haste 
by Kolmorden to Hundhammar, went on board the 
vessels they could find, and so proceeded without delay 
to Hatuna where the King at that time was staying. 
Birger who was without suspicion of their intentions 
received them well, and quartered their men. Here the 
troop armed themselves, and in the evening, on a signal 
from the Duke, rushed out and seized the King and 
Queen with their Court. The Dukes now carried their 
prisoners to Stockholm; but the burghers remained 
faithful to their King and would not open their gates ; 
they were therefore obliged to proceed to Nyköping, 
where they shut up the King and Queen in the for- 
tress; on which Duke Erik commenced a predatory 
excursion through the country, taking castles, and sub- 
duing the people. 

In the first hurry and confusion of the attack on the 
King at Hatuna, one of the courtiers, named Arwid, 
snatched up Prince Magnus, the King's son, and bore 
him out of the strife on his back. He escaped to 
Denmark, where he left the Prince to Erik's protection, 
shedding tears as he related the treachery which had 
been practised on his Sovereign. King Erik being 
doubly bound to King Birger, his brother-in-law by 

M 2 


two marriages, took this greatly to heart, and deter- 
mined to assist him ; he therefore mustered an army, 
but when the Swedes and Danes were within six miles 
of each other, they concluded peace for a year (1307)* 
During this time, Duke Waldemar went on a pilgrim- 
age to the south of Europe, and returned in a short 
time having a body of eight hundred well-armed horse- 
men which he had collected in Germany. Duke Erik 
had likewise assembled an army from Upland, and 
after the expiration of the truce, both the Dukes 
crossed the Danish frontier into Skåne, burning and 
ravaging the land. They quartered their men for the 
winter, and mercilessly plundered the unfortunate 
peasantry for their support. The Dukes caused the 
whole of the province of West Gothland likewise to be 
ravaged, that the Danish monarch on entering the 
province with his troops should find no provisions. 
But this did not alter the Danish King's mind, who, 
in the summer of 1308, again entered the kingdom 
with a great army. The Dukes advanced towards him, 
but when all expected that a bloody battle would 
follow, a new truce was concluded for a longer period 
than before, and the King and his brothers were to 
settle their differences in a personal interview. The 
Dukes on this summoned a Diet at Örebro, where 
it was determined that if Birger would forswear his 
enmity to his brothers, and promise no more to dis- 
turb Sweden, he should be set at liberty and regain a 
third part of the kingdom. They then despatched a 
messenger to him to Nyköping, who willingly agreed ' 
all their propositions, and confirmed his promises 
an oath as well as by his hand and seal. On accej 
ing these conditions, the doors of his prison we 
opened to him (1308), and this was the second recc 




Scarcely had King Birger and his Queen been set 
free from their prison^ than they hastened to Denmark 
to deplore their misfortunes to King Erik^ and ask his 
assistance to regain the whole kingdom. Thus their 
first action was to break their promise and their oath. 
King Erik, however, still took further compassion of 
his unhappy brother-in-law, and despatched another 
great army which from Skane broke into Sweden. 
The Dukes saw it would be impossible for them to 
withstand such superior forces, but pursued the plan of 
jravaging the country before the Danish troops, that 
they might be famished in it, and besides they fell on 
the stragglers and cut them off. In this way they 
passed through Småland. At Holaweden, the Dukes 
seemed determined to make a serious resistance, but as 
Matts Kettilmundson was riding before the troops, his 
horse stumbled and fell with his rider, so that the 
stalk of the banner he carried was broken in his hand. 
This was thought to be so bad an omen, that the 
Dukes did not dare to venture a battle, and withdrew 
till another opportunity. The two Kings by this 
means advanced to Nyköping which they undertook to 
besiege; but there they met with so strong an opposi- 
tion, that though they lay three months before the 
Castle, it was to no purpose. Meanwhile, the Danish 
troops began to long for their return home ; and to 
crown all, provisions began utterly to fail in the entirely 
ruined country, wherefore King Erik was forced to 
draw back to his land again without having gained 
anything by the great expenses he had made. The fol- 


lowing year a meeting was held at Helsingborg, where 
a new peace was concluded^ on condition that King 
Birger should receive the third of his kingdom, and a 
sincere reconciliation should take place between the 
brothers. This was the third reconciliation. 



AFTER this time, King Birger lived without much 
consideration in his kingdom, and it sometimes hap- 
pened that his subjects would not pay their taxes. He 
set off for Gothland with a small army to force the 
rich Gothlanders, out of their abundance, to pay him a 
heavier tax than ever; but this attempt succeeded so 
ill, that he was beaten by them and taken prisoner. 
They soon released him, however, but refused to pay 
more than before; and this expedition was thought 
very disgraceful to the King. The Dukes gained great 
worship by the pomp and magnificence in which they 
lived, particularly Erik, even though he borrowed 
money for the purpose on every hand. They celebrated 
their marriages in Norway in 1312, when Waldemar 
was married to Ingeborg, King Hakan^s niece, and Erik 
to the same King^s only daughter, the Princess Inge- 
borg, to whom he had been formerly engaged; but 
from whom he had been for some time parted on 
account of his faithlessness to her father. The brothers 
now kept each their separate Court, and to supp fc 
them magnificently laid on new and very heavy ta: \ 
on the people. These were miserably poor after I 
they had suffered from the Duke's foreign and domei j 
troops, and the marching and plundering of b i 


friends and enemies. Never were the inhabitants of 
Si^eden so heavily oppressed as at that time; the 
clergy, who otherwise had always been exempted, were 
forced to submit to many uncommon charges, while 
the servants and courtiers of the Dukes flourished at 
their expense ; for they received gifts of horses, arms, 
fine cloths, with other precious effects at the numerous 
tournaments and various gay entertainments which were 

Such was the state of things for several years till 
1317> when Duke Waldemar undertook a journey 
to Stockholm which belonged to his third of the 
division of the kingdom. He stopped on his way 
at Nyköping to visit the King, his brother, whom 
he had not seen for a long time. King Birger went 
out to meet him, bidding him a friendly welcome, with 
every other mark of friendship and kindness; and 
Queen Martha received him equally well. The Duke 
greatly pleased with these testimonies of regard passed 
the night with them. In the evening, Queen Martha 
complained bitterly to him of ^* Duke Erik's avoiding 
his brother, Birger, which caused her great pain, for 
God knew she loved him as much as if he were her 
own brother.'' The following morning, Waldemar, 
much delighted with his entertainment rode away with 
his train, who had also been very well treated. From 
Stockholm he proceeded direct to his brother Erik in 
Westmanland, who related to him that he had just 
received an invitation from the King, and asked Wal- 
demar if he thought he could accept it safely. Of this 
Waldemar made not the least doubt, relating how well 
he had been himself received ; and though Erik long 
made objections, saying, that he dreaded the Queen 
and the Chancellor Brunke, it was finally decided that 


they should accept the King's invitation. They set out, 
but when they had reached Swarta^ six miles from 
Nyköping, a knight met them who warned tbem, say- 
ing, " They would cause themselves and their friends 
much sorrow if both Dukes trusted themselves in the 
King's hands at the same time." To this Waldemar 
indignantly replied, that, "There were but too many 
who wanted to breed disunion between the brothers." 
The knight added never a word and rode off, and the 
Dukes entered Swärta where they proposed to sleep 
that night. When they came there, they found no 
preparations made ; but a knight awaiting thenci, who 
saluted them in the King's name with many entreaties 
and fair words, requesting that they would not repose 
before they came to Nyköping ; for the King had no 
rest till he should see them, so great was his longing 
for their arrival. The Dukes did as the messenger 
required, and rode on the same evening to Nyköping. 
The King went out to meet them, greeted them with 
much kindness and courtesy, and taking one by each 
hand led them up to the Castle. A magnificent feast 
was already prepared there, and good entertainment, 
at which neither mead, wine, nor fair and sweet words 
were wanting. Duke Waldemar began, at last, to sus- 
pect the intention of this long feasting, and said to his 
brother that they had drunk too much wine. But this 
was soon forgotten. Everything was arranged for plea- 
sure and jollity ; and never had Queen Martha been 
seen so gay as this evening. When night was far ad- 
vanced, it was time to separate, and the Dukes went 
repose ; but the Queen said to their men, that ^^ thi 
lodging was prepared in the town as there was t 
little place for them in the Castle ;" whereon all t 
Dukes' servants were led out ; and Johan Brunke sto 


himself at the gate, took care that every one passed 
out^ and carefully shat the Castle gates behind them. 
After this he armed the King's servants with cross- 
bows, swords, and other weapons, leading them up to 
the King. But Birger, who was still undecided, made 
them retire, and calling Sir Knut Johanson Blå, grand- 
son of Iwar Blå, asked him if he would assist him in 
taking the Dukes prisoners. To this Knut Johanson 
answered^ solemnly: 

" Be not angry my Lord, but I will counsel you 
against it as far as my power extends. He who has 
given you this counsel has advised a great treachery. 
Will you deceive and murder your brothers who have 
come here on your word ? The devil himself has cer- 
tainly sought to seduce you. Let him who will be angry 
on this account, I will never help you in it.'^ Then said 
the King being highly irritated, " Small care hast thou 
for my honour ! '^ But Knut answered, " For what may 
conduce to your honour, but little will accrue to you 
from this ; and I believe that should you carry through 
your intentions, your honour will be less hereafter.'^ 
On which he left the King. There were also two other 
knights who seriously warned the King ; but he was so 
displeased that he ordered them immediately to prison. 
On this he had his men provided with torches, and so 
they proceeded to the sleeping apartment of the Dukes. 
They awoke at the noise of breaking up the door, and 
Waldemar leapt up, threw on a cloak, for they had al- 
ready lain down, but the soldiers to the number of ten 
entered at the same moment, and some of them wanted 
to attack Waldemar immediately ; but he seized one by 
the middle and threw him down calling to his brother 
for help. Erik, who saw so many armed men around 
him, said, " Let alone, brother, for struggling here will 

M 3 


nought avail ;^' and so they both yielded without re- 
sistance, hoping to receive quarter. The King now 
came rushing in^ with starting eyes and in a savage 
mood. " Do you remember Hatuna ? ^' he cried. ** Full 
well do I remember it, and this will not be better for 
you than that was for me, for you shall get the same 
fate, though it has tarried so long.^' On this he saw 
their hands tied, and had them conveyed bare-footed, 
deep into the tower, where they were delivered over to 
Wallram Skytte, who fastened a great chain on their legs. 

At early dawn Johan Brunke went down into the 
town, having with him many armed men who took the 
Dukes' men and servants prisoners, and carried them 
up to the Castle, where they were thrust into one ward 
to the number of twenty. Their possessions, horses, 
arms, and clothes, the courtiers divided among them- 
selves ; and when this was done, the King clapped his 
hands for joy, saying: ^^The Holy Ghost bless my 
Queen ! Now I have all Sweden in my hand ! " 

Some time after the King set out to reconquer the 
kingdom ; and left his brothers meanwhile under the care 
of a Livonian knight who placed them in the lowest 
dungeon, and put a beam on their legs. They were fas- 
tened to the wall by thick irons round the throat, and 
chains one hundred and forty pounds weight were ri- 
veted on their wrists, the other end of which was 
attached to the beam. When the link was closed on Erik, 
it was done with such violence, that a piece broke out, 
and struck him so hard on the eye, that the blood ran 
down his cheek and over his breast. Their prison w 
the very bottom of the tower on the bare rock, and 
pool of water was between them. Wretched were tf 
clothes they had, and wretched was their food, so th 
it could by every token be judged that their brott 
had no great desire that they should come out alive. 




King Biroer now caused his emissaries to speed over 
the land proclaiming him sole lord and master^ and he 
himself rode up to Stockholm to take possession of its 
Castle ; but the fame of his odious treachery and crime 
had flown before him, and excited general detestation. 
The burghers shut the city gates in his face, armed 
themselves, and letting down the drawbridge made a 
sally, chasing him over the whole of the Norrmalm,* 
so that he was obliged to make a shameful flight to 
Nyköping. Such was his reception at Stockholm ; and 
the rest of the country rose with one accord against 
their traiterous and cruel monarch. Birger Persson of 
Finnsta set himself at the head of the Uplanders ; Karl 
of the Smålanders, Sir Matts Kettilmundson headed 
the West Gothlanders, and all turned towards Nyköp- 
ing to deliver the imprisoned Dukes, and punish the 
Bang. And now Birger began to perceive that he had 
but small joy of his ill-deed. He locked the door of 
the tower in which the Princes lay, and in his despera- 
tion flung the keys into the deep stream, where they 
could never again be found, and rode away from the 
Castle. But the Dukes never left it alive ; and it is. the 
general belief that they died of starvation in their 
prison. Erik who was sick and wounded, died on the 
third day ; but Waldemar dragged through eleven days 
before death put an end to his sufferings. 

Birger's son. Prince Magnus, had meanwhile been in 
Denmark, and had no share in his father's treachery ; 
but hastened now to his help with six hundred well 
* A well known part of Stockholm. 


armed cavaliers whom Erik, King of Denmark, lent 
him. With these the young Prince came quietly tra- 
velling through the land seeking his foes alone. When 
King Birger had collected sufficient troops, he went 
through Gothaland laying heavy contributions on the 
peasantry on pain of fire ; but he avoided the Duke's 
people wherever he met them. At Karlebylånga, a large 
body of West Gothlanders came on him with whom, 
fearing to engage, he agreed to a truce for three days. 
But when a great body of the peasants had gone home 
seeking provender and provision, the King attacked the 
others treacherously in the middle of the peace, so that 
a number of the peasantry were cut to pieces ; and in 
the evening he set the village on fire, that he might the 
better see to pursue them. After this feat, he thought 
he had triumphed over his enemies, and drew back to 
East Gothland where he quartered his Danes in the 
towns. Ere long, however, Knut Porze of Halland came 
at the head of the Duke's men, surprised and conquered 
part of the soldiers, which when the rest of the troops 
heard, they made a speedy retreat home leaving the 
King to himself. He now knew no resource but with 
his Queen and Brunke to fly to Gothland, after placing 
his son, young Prince Magnus, in Stegeborg with a good 

Of the whole kingdom only Nyköping and Stegeborg 
remained to the King, both of which were hardly beset 
Finally the besieged in Nyköping took the dead bodies 
of both the Dukes, and carrying them under a dais out 
of the Castle, left them to the besiegers saying, tl 
" their siege now could answer no purpose, since tj 
Dukes their masters were dead, and the King had, afl 
them, inherited the whole kingdom.'^ But they a 
swered, ^^ that no one need think of getting an inhe 


tance by murder, and that they now served Lord Mag- 
nus, Duke Erik's son/^ The bodies of the murdered 
Princes were carried to Stockholm where they were 
buried with state ; but Erik had incurred such heavy 
debts, that the Archbishop declared he could not refuse 
to give up his body, according to the custom of that 
day, to his creditors if they should require it. Nykö- 
ping was meanwhile more closely besieged, so that the 
garrison at last surrendered ; on which the Castle was 
razed to the ground by the enraged people. In this 
fortress Magnus Laduslas had imprisoned his King 
and elder brother, Waldemar ; there too his own eldest 
son. King Birger, was imprisoned by his brothers ; and 
finally they, in turn, were by the latter as treacherously 
imprisoned and tortured to death. 

Stegeborg held out longer against the enemy. The 
King despatched a number of ships from Gothland 
with supplies of provision and troops ; but no sooner 
had these vessels entered the Skares than they were 
attacked and taken, and the booty divided amongst the 
enemy, and Prince Magnus remained in as much need 
as before. When this was told the King, the Queen 
turned both white and red, and exclaimed, *^ Where 
shall we now turn, since God has sent us such a mis- 
fortune ?'* But Johan Brunke answered that he would 
himself set out, and no more spare the Dukens people 
than they had spared the King's. On this he entered 
the first vessels he could find, caused them to be planked 
in all round, and loading them with provision and the 
rest of the King's forces sailed for Stegeborg. When 
he entered the Skares, he was attacked with stones and 
every sort of missive, notwithstanding which Br\mke 
defended himself manfully behind the rails* Seeing 
this, the Duke's men made lofty floats of wood which 


they lighted and drifted towards the ships. The King's 
men long kept off the fire by means of iron poles and 
boat-hooks, but they were at last exhausted, their de- 
fensive weapons destroyed, and three of the largest 
vessels caught fire which spread firom ship to ship, and 
was not to be extinguished. Then Sir Brunke and all 
his men leapt into the water hoping to save themselves 
by swimming ; but the Duke's people seized hold of 
them, and Brunke, Wallram Skytte, Ulf Swalebeck, 
and Lyder Foss were sent to Stockholm where they 
were cast into prison. Meanwhile the siege of St^e- 
borg advanced with all diligence; the wall was breached 
by the culverins, provisions began to fail, and the gar- 
rison was at last obliged to surrender, on condition 
that the life of the young Magnus should be safe. 
Stegeborg was entirely destroyed and Magnus carried 
to Stockholm and confined in the same castle where 
he nineteen years before was bom as it appeared to 
such great power, glory, and happiness. 

Meanwhile Sir Matts Kettilmundson, at a Diet in 
Skara (1318), was chosen Administrator of the king- 
dom, and acted with such energy that by his care a 
Danish army which King Erik equipped for Birger's 
assistance was beaten, and not only that, but the 
whole of Skåne ravaged by the Swedes. On this he 
travelled to Stockholm where Johan Brunke and his 
three companions underwent a short trial which ended 
in their being condemned to be beheaded. This was 
immediately carried into execution on a high sand-bank, 
which then lay at the Norrmalm, the greater part 
which is now dug away. But since that day the pk 
retains the name of Bninkeberg. 

Shortly after Prince Magnus Birgerson was 
down from the Castle to the Helgeandsholm, and tl 


desired to make his confession, for he was, by his death, 
to pay the penalty of his father^s crime. In vain he 
pleaded his innocence of his father's treachery; the 
Lords cared nought for this, neither for the oath they 
had sworn him of security for life and limb at Stege- 
borg ; neither that they formeriy, in King Birger's time, 
had paid homage to him as their future sovereign. He 
was obliged to bow his innocent head to the axe. 

The Administrator now equipped a fleet with which 
to attack King Birger in Gothland, intending to make 
him endure the same hard lot as his brothers. He had, 
however, in company of his Queen made his escape to 
Denmark ; but on arriving there they found that their 
former aid and protector King Erik was dead, and his 
brother King Christopher did not receive them very 
warmly. However, for the sake of their relationship, 
he granted them the Spikaborg Castle where they lived 
awhile ; but when the news reached them of the death 
of their only son Prince Magnus, it caused the King 
so much grief that he was soon laid on his death-bed. 
Queen Martha lived long, but only to deplore her 
crimes, and her misfortunes. 

And now of the posterity of Magnus Laduslas, Duke 
Erik's son, Magnus, a child of four years old, alone 






The partisans of Matts Kettilmundson, and those of 
the late Princes summoned a Diet at Upsala in 1319, 
at which the young Prince Magnus was elected at the 
Mora Stones, and received the homage of the whole 
assembled people. This Diet is remarkable from hav- 
ing been the first to which both the nobility, clergy, 
burghers, and peasants were called. Håkan, King of 
Norway, died at this time, and Magnus being his daugh- 
ter's son and only heir, he succeeded him and thus in 
his earliest childhood became sovereign of both the 
Northern kingdoms, a power which none had possessed 
since the days of Sigurd Ring. 

During the King's minority, the kingdom was go- 
verned by some of the chief lords who had, at Skara 
in 1322, signed an agreement for mutual support and 
assistance, especially against Knut Porze in Halland, 
whose power appeared to them too dangerous, parti- 
cularly on account of the favour the King's mother 
showed him, whom he even married in 1327, spite 
the opposition of the senators. However they s 
ceeded in restraining any further attempts of his a 
bition ; and with the exception of this dispute, the la 
was kept in peace and tranquillity. 


Denmark during the last years of this minority was 
sunk in great troubles. Christopher had no means to 
make head against his many enemies^ but had been 
obliged^ partly as pledges for sums received, partly as 
accommodations, to part with many of the dependen- 
cies of Denmark. By this means, Skåne had been 
made over to Duke John of Holstein, Halland to Knut 
Porze and so on. But the Holsteiners mal-treating 
the Scanians, paying no regard to their laws and cus- 
toms, they rebelled, and came at last to open warfare, 
so that three hundred Germans were at one time cut 
down in the Cathedral of Lund. As the Scanians, 
however, perceived that they need not flatter themselves 
with hopes of assistance irom the Danish monarch, 
they addressed themselves to King Magnus of Sweden, 
with whom they had a conference in Calmar in 1332. 
They then placed themselves under the Swedish crown 
on condition that Magnus should confirm their privi- 
leges, and defend them against foreign invasion. 
Besides this, the Swedish crown was obliged to pay to 
the Duke of Holstein, and others who had lent on 
security, the sums they had to claim on the land, 
which amounted to seventy thousand marks of silver. 
By this means, Skåne as well as a part of Halland and 
Bleking, were joined to the kingdom, so that Magnus, 
on attaining his majority in 1333, was also sovereign 
of the whole Northern peninsula. 

Matts Kettilmundson who had most contributed in 
keeping the provinces together, died the following 
year; still for some time Magnus appeared to reign 
with firmness. A new book of laws which had been 
80 long in hand was completed in 1347 5 it was called 
Meddellag, but was not then acted upon, as the clergy 
set themselves against it as at variance with the cano- 
nical laws and their privileges. 


King Magnus, in 1335, was married to the Duchess 
Blanche of Namur, and she made him the father of 
two sons, Erik and Håkan. His sister Euphemia was 
married in 1336 to Albrecht, Duke of Mecklenburg. 
King Waldemar Otterdag who now reigned in Den- 
mark, twice formerly resigned all pretensions to Hal- 
land, Skåne and Bleking, and many of his principal 
subjects went bail for him that he should keep his 

Notwithstanding these good appearances, a general 
dissatisfaction began to arise and increase against 
Magnus. Disputes often took place between him and 
the powerful senators which he had neither the sense 
to avoid, nor the power to subdue. Their envy was 
ejccited by the great favour shown by both the Eang 
and Queen to Bengt Algotson, a man of mean birth, 
but of a proud and imperious disposition. Magnus 
likewise fell into contempt by allowing himself to be 
governed by his wicked and ambitious Queen ; but what 
most contributed to disgrace him was the light and 
even licentious life he led in his Court, and some be- 
lieve for this reason he gained the surname Smek. A 
meeting was last held in Skenninge in 1342, in which 
the eldest Prince, Erik, was named and received homage 
as his father's successor and co-regent in Sweden ; and 
Håkan the youngest was installed in the same way in 
Norway, so that by this means the union of the king- 
doms was annulled. 

As Erik however was but a child, Magnus reigned. 
Meanwhile Esthonia and Livonia being torn by intern ' 
dissensions, he determined to try his fortune there ar 

* As Kings used so shamelessly to break their word solemi 
pledged oo oath, it was customary, at that time, to have sureti 
who offered bail for them, and even engaged to force their sot 
reign to keep his faith. 


hired foreign troops to his aid against the express 
warning of St. Brigitta. She begged him first to seek 
for and remedy the injustice and disorders practised 
in his own kingdom before he thought of foreign con- 
quest ; and if he indeed wanted to prove his zeal for 
the heathen in Esthonia^ not to take hirelings, but born 
Swedes, and such as would accompany him freely for 
the love of God; otherwise it would go ill with his 

The money for this expedition was lent by the 
priests. The Bang set out in 1348, and on his arrival 
in Russia, took Nöteborg where he made five hundred 
prisoners. These he caused to be shaved and baptized; 
and then let them go iree, on the promise of a consider- 
able ransom. But they returned after awhile with a 
great army of Russians, and succeeded in surrounding 
the Swedes, so that the King was obliged to dig his 
way out, and could barely make his escape with part of 
his fleet. Those who remained behind, as well as the 
whole garrison of Nöteborg, were cut to pieces ; and 
such was the end of this campaign. 



At this period a terrible pestilence had commenced 
to spread itself over the known world. In Sweden it 
was called the Diger-Death, that is the Great Death. 
It came from India, and in 1348 made such ravages in 
the South of Europe, that barely a third of the popu- 
lation survived. A continual south-wind brought thick 
and damp vapours with it ; the air was never cleared by 
storms and rain, and oft-repeated earthquakes, and signs 


in the air boded a great convulsion in nature. This 
plague attacked man and beast alike; but tlie young 
died most. Boils broke out under the armpits^ which 
were followed by spitting of blood ; and after three dap, 
inevitable death. In 1349, a ship on board of which 
no living creature was found was driven towards Ber- 
gen on the coast of Norway. The citizens thoughtlessly 
unloaded the vessel, which being infected by the plague 
spread the malady with alarming rapidity which ra- 
vaged both Sweden and Norway during the year 1350. 
No family, and no rank escaped; whole parishes 
perished ; in West Gothland four hundred and sixty-six 
priests died, and the King^s two half brothers fell vic- 
tims to it. In the mining districts of Wermland, one 
man and two girls alone survived ; and many and many 
a mile now divided the nearest neighbours. After this 
devastation wide tracts of land fell to the crown for 
want of heirs ; and other districts became a wilderness 
which the wood soon covered, so that even yet in the 
centre of deep forests remains of houses and fields 
which have remained forgotten from that time are occa- 
sionally discovered. It once happened long after the 
Diger Death, that a peasant in Eksparish went out 
early one morning in spring to shoot the capercoil in a 
thick wood. As he missed the bird, he went to seek 
the arrow, which had fallen, as he thought, on a high 
moss-covered rock ; but when the peasant reached the 
place, he found it was a Church which had remained 
forgotten and forsaken, and was buried in trees. This 
plague stopped at last ; but left great misery in the la ', 
and much discontent with the King, a visitation i 
whose sins the people believed it to have been. 




Meanwhile the enmity between King Magnus and 
the senators increased to such a degree, that they ad- 
dressed themselves to King Erik who often disap- 
proved of his father's proceedings, and even drove 
Bengt Algotson with a strong hand out of the king- 
dom in 1356, without caring for either father or mother, 
who were highly enraged in consequence, as it is even 
said that Queen Blanche set out for Denmark, and en- 
tered into an agreement with King Waldemar to restore 
Skåne to him, if he would help her favourite Bengt 
Algotson back to the kingdom again. This, however, 
was not put into execution, for the following year 1357, 
a reconciliation was arranged between the father and 
son, and the kingdom divided between them. Magnus 
was, however, soon again offended, and went with 
Blanche to Waldemar in Denmark seeking his help, 
on the promise of Skåne. The young King Håkan of 
Norway was now betrothed to Margaret, King Walde- 
mar's daughter. Waldemar fell upon Skåne, but the 
land was soon reconquered by King Erik and some 
Swedes hurriedly armed with clubs, whence this was 
called the Club-troop. Magnus gained nothing by this, 
save the hatred and ruin of his subjects, and was forced 
to conclude a new peace with Erik in Söderköping 
(1359). Queen Blanche was by this time irritated in 
the highest measure at all the impediments her son laid 
in way of her plans. She invited him therefore with his 
young Queen Beatrix to pass the Christmas with her, 
and poisoned them both in the midst of the festivities, 
and her false demonstrations of motherly love. Beatrix 


died immediately^ together with the child of which she 
was pregnant ; but Erik combated with his sufferings 
for twenty days, when he died, saying : " She who gave 
me life, has also deprived me of it." 

A general horror of this crime spread itself over thl^ 
kingdom, and the Swedes were soon made to feel the 
further consequences of Erik's death. Waldemar got 
possession of Skåne and Bleking, and Magnus gave 
him back these provinces which had cost Sweden such 
heavy sums, at a meeting at Brömsebro, for nothing 
(1360.) He made no attempt to hinder the fearful 
ravages with which Waldemar afflicted the islands of 
Gothland and Oland; and it has even been surmised 
that the expedition to Gothland was at the instigation 
of Magnus, who thus wanted to punish the inhabitants 
for their pride. Waldemar made a terrible incursion, 
and Wisby was entirely plundered by him. He forced 
the people to fill three of the largest ale-barrels in the 
town with gold and silver; but the ship which was 
carrying the greater part of the spoil home to Denmark 
was wrecked and all was lost. 

As Magnus had committed violence against the 
clergy, and also left his debt to the Pope unpaid, he 
was finally excommunicated. This, however, made no 
impression upon him, for he entered the Churches by 
force in which service was going on, adding by this 
means to the horror the people already entertained for 
him. Bengt, who had been so much hated before for 
his avarice and oppression, returned to the kingdom 
soon after Erikas death, but was attacked and murde 1 
by the people in Skåne. Finally (1362) the Senat i 
chose Håkan, who already reigned in Norway for tl r 
King. He, to do them pleasure, broke his engagem : 
with Margaret Waldemar's daughter, and was to ma ' 


Elizabeth^ a Duchess of the House of Holstein. Many 
noble Swedish lords were sent to meet her, and she was 
formally betrothed to King Håkan. He also made his 
father prisoner in Calmar Cathedral; but made a re- 
conciliation soon after with both Magnus and Waldemar. 
Elizabeth who had sailed for Sweden was driven by 
stress of weather to Denmark^ and was there kept pri- 
soner by Waldemar, together with the Swedish lords. 
Meanwhile Magnus and Håkan set out for Denmark, 
where the latter was married to Margaret. Elizabeth 
and her fellow-prisoners could only be freed by force of 
arms by the Duke of Mecklenburg ; but she had taken 
the world in such disgust on account of this treachery, 
that she would not return home to her friends, but shut 
herself up in the Convent of Wadstena, devoting her 
time to prayer and her fortune to charity. On the 
return of the Swedish nobles, indignant at Håkan^s 
treachery in again giving up Skåne, they entered into a 
league against him. Duke Henry of Holstein, wrathful 
at the contempt which had been shown his sister, for- 
tified Calmar which he had as a fief, and summoned the 
Swedish lords, who had acted as sureties for Håkan, to 
keep their promise. These then elected the Judge of 
Upland, Israel Birgersson, Saint Brigitta's brother, as 
King, a man who was as much considered for his high 
descent and riches, as for his justice and mildness. He 
refused their ofier however, not desiring such an un- 
certain honour. The Lords were now banished by 
Magnus and Håkan, and hastened to the Duke of 
Holstein offering him the Swedish Crown (1363) ; but 
he excused himself on account of his great age, and 
advised them to address themselves to one of the sons 
of the Duke of Mecklenburg, who, by their mother 
Euphemia, were grandsons of the unfortunate Duke 


Erik. The Lords followed this counsel, and the Duke 
of Mecklenburg accepted their offer for his eldest son 
Albrecht, who was in consequence elected King of 
Sweden. The Duke equipped a fleet on which Albrecht, 
and the banished gentlemen returned to Sweden. The 
Castle of Stockholm soon surrendered, and a Diet was 
assembled there in 1363, in which the election of Al- 
brecht was confirmed, and he received homage the 
following year at the Mora Stones ; but Magnus and 
Håkan still maintained themselves in the kingdom of 
Gotha. In this manner the kingdom had three Kings 
at once during the space of two years, till Magnus and 
Håkan at last collected an army with which they 
marched against Stockholm. Their advance-guard was 
attacked by Albrecht's troops in Gata Forest, on the 
west of Enköping, while the greater part of Hakan's 
army was meanwhile eating, drinking, singing, and en- 
joying themselves in Westerås. The battle was very 
severe, Håkan was wounded and his people driven back 
to Nyqwam, where, to cut off pursuit, he caused the 
bridge to be pulled down, and was thus the means of 
his father, with the troops yet in his company on the 
other side, being taken prisoners. Håkan fled to Nor- 
way ; but Magnus was put into strict confinement in 
Stockholm, living six years a prisoner in the same castle 
where he had reigned thirty-six years as sovereign of 
the North. King Håkan did his best to get his father's 
deliverance ; and succeeded at last, but at the expense 
of a heavy ransom. Magnus then accompanied Håkan 
to Norway where he was more loved than in Swec^'^n, 
and lived there some years in peace and quiet; ' it 
being once on a sea-voyage to the islands off Berger a 
violent storm arose in which the ship was lost, d 
every soul on board perished (a.d. 1374). 


Thus ended the Folkungar dynasty in Sweden, which 
for one hundred and twenty years had filled the country 
with war and bloodshed ; for not a King of this race 
is to be found who did not commit violence on, and act 
treacherously by his nearest relations, father, brother, 
and children. They were the cause of their own ruin 
by their persecutions of each other, to the degree that 
no noble branch remained of a family once so nume- 
rous. In East Gothland, in Skärkind Parish alone, a 
remnant of this mighty race remained as peasants, and 
are yet distinguished by the pride, disunion, and hard- 
ness of their forefathers. 

VOL. I. 






The Judge of Upland was always a person of con- 
sequence in the country. During King Birger's reign 
this office was filled by Birger Persson of Finnstad, a 
Tery rich and powerful man^ of high birth and known 
integrity^ so that he was greatly considered in public 
affairs. By his second marriage with Ingeborgs daughter 
of Bengt, Judge of East Gothland and Sigrid the Fair, 
he was nearly connected with the royal family. He bore 
two eagle's wings on his shield^ and is supposed to be 
the ancestor of the noble house of Brahe. As a proof 
of Birger^s riches and the customs of that time, it may 
be quoted that at his funeral the following articles were 
consumed : one pound and a half of saffron^ twelve 
pounds of cummin, six pounds of pepper, ninety pounds 
of almonds, one hundred and five pounds of rice, four 
pounds of sugar, seven barrels of herrings, and three 
firkins of wine. 

Birger had several children by his last marriage, 
of whom the most remarkable was Brigitta, or Brita, 
who afterwards became so famous as to be considered a 
saint. We will here relate her life as the monks tell it 
From her earliest infancy, her future greatness was an- 


nounced by many miracles. She was three years dumb, 
but then at once spake with a clearness and compre- 
hension which surprised every one. Her parents were 
very pious according to the religion of the times : con- 
fessed often, fasted, mortified, and flagellated them- 
selves; built Churches, gave alms, and held up to their 
children the pattern of a zealous and ardent piety. 
This worked on Brigitta especially. When after her 
mother's death .she went to live with her aunt. Lady 
Ingrid at Aspenäs, and was not above seven years old, 
she thought one night she saw an altar before her bed. 
The Virgin Mary stood above the altar in shining 
clothes^ and held a precious^^own in her hand, saying, 
'^ Brigitta, come V^ She w^t, ^nd the Virgin said : 
"Wilt thou have this crown?" to which, when Bri- 
gitta had bowed assent, Mary put the crown on her 
head. When Brigitta returned to bed, the vision 
vanished from her eyes; but she always retained in 
her memory a feeHng of bliss which flowed through 
her as the crown touched her head. From that time 
she became more constant and ardent in her prayers. 
Her aunt. Lady Ingrid, who entered her room one 
night unobserved, found her kneeling and weeping 
before a crucifix, knew not what to think of it, and 
lifted the rod in a threatening attitude over Brigitta; 
but it broke in her hand. Then the Lady Ingrid sur- 
prised^ said, " What dost thou, Brigitta ?" She related 
her visions and her devotions in answer, and her aunt 
from that moment reverenced her. It is even said 
that it often happened, as the maidens were sitting em- 
broidering together, that Brigitta would fall into such 
deep and godly meditations, that she remained absorbed 
in herself, entirely forgetting her work ; but the rest at 
such times perceived an unknown woman to appear and 

N 2 


work for her; and when the work was afterwards ex- 
amined, it seemed j&ner and better than a human hand 
could have done it; but when Brigitta was questioned 
on the subject, she said she had seen nothing. 



Thus grew this holy maiden, blooming and pure as 
a lily, and as much admired for her beauty as for her 
great piety. At thirteen years of age, at her fiither^s 
earnest request, she was married to Ulf Gudmarsson of 
Ulfasa, who was then not more than eighteen. Not- 
withstanding their youth, their union was remarkable 
for zeal, and voluntary mortification of the fleshy for Ulf 
was himself a very pious gentleman. Brigitta got a 
learned man to translate the whole Bible for her into 
Swedish, that she might be able to read it, and it formed 
her daily pleasure. In the intervals of her devotions, 
she visited the churches and convents, and took an 
especial care of the poor, for whom she built large and 
convenient houses on her estates. At last she and her. 
husband determined, for their soul^s salvation, to under- 
take a pilgrimage to St. Jago di Compostello^ in Spain, 
where the monks say the Apostie James is buried. 
They accomplished this journey at great expense, and 
with much danger and fatigue. In France, Ulf Gud- 
marsson fell dangerously ill ; but making, on the point 
of death, the vow to become a monk, he soon recove i, 
and they both returned home again. Ulf then gav< p 
his worldly avocations, (he had been Judge m Neri ,) 
and entered Alwastra Cloister, where he passed is 
time in prayer and penitence till his death, which ' k 


place in 1344. He and St. Bri^tta had been the 
parents of eight children, four sons and four daughters. 

After this Brigitta led a yet harder life, and becoming 
more and more inspired, she often thought she saw 
spirits and spoke with them; and being more holy, 
generous, and just than others, it did not seem extraor- 
dinary to her that she should enjoy so great a grace. 
Once when she was thus in ecstacy, she thought she 
saw a shining cloud, out of which came a voice, saying : 
'* I am the Lord thy God, who will speak with thee, and 
thou shalt be my messenger.*' At this she was strangely 
moved; but the voice spoke further, saying: *^Fear 
not^ I am the Creator of all things, and no deceiver ; 
neither do I speak for thy sake alone, but for the salva- 
tion of many. List, therefore, to what I say, and tell 
it to Master Matthias, who by my grace, and his 
own experience, has learnt to distinguish between the 
spirit of truth, and the spirit of lies.^' After this she 
often imagined she had revelations and conversations 
with Christ and the Virgin Mary, which conversations 
she afterwards related to Master Matthias, who wrote 
them down, by which means they have come to posterity. 

Brigitta was obliged to pass some time at Court, 
where she became superintendent of Queen Blanche's 
household; she could not however endure the follies 
and vices she saw practised around her, but read many 
a warning lecture to the King and the Court, and told 
her revelations of the punishment which should overtake 
sinners. But Magnus made jest of her speech, and 
often asked in sport, ^^ what his friend had dreamt of 
him to-night ?^^ As she found herself imable to accom- 
plish anything, she retired from Court and went to live 
on her estates in the severest penance. Ever since her 
husband's death, she never wore linen but hair-cloth 


next her skin. A thin mat was spread before her bed 
with a footstool for a pillow^ on which she used to he, 
and when she was asked how she was able to endure 
the bitter cold^ she answered^ ^^ I feel so much warmth 
within, that I care little for the external cold/' Every 
Friday^ in memory of Christ's sufferings, she caused 
burning wax to be dropped on her bare arm, and if the 
sores healed too soon, she tore them up with her naik 
As often as she spoke a heedless word, she kept a bitter 
herb in her mouth for the punishment of her tongue. 
She waited on twelve poor people daily at their dinner, 
and every Thursday she used to wash their feet. 

As many of her relations reproached her for all this, 
and began to consider her as mad, she answered: '^I 
neither began, nor do I intend to finish this for your 
sakes. I have determined in my soul not to care for 
what man may say. As for you, pray for me that I 
may continue in it.^' 



Two years after her husband's death, Brigitta had 
a vision in which Christ spoke to her, saying : *^ Go to 
Rome, for there the streets are paved with everlasting 
gold: that is, the blood of the martyrs and saints. 
There by the merits of the saints, and the absolution of 
the Pope, lies the shortest way to Heaven. In Rome 
thou shalt remain till thou hast seen the Pope and ) 
Emperor." On this exhortation, Brigitta made hen F 
ready for the journey (1346) and reached Rome ; 1 ; 
never returned to her native land. She lived thi i 
many years, and visited all the holy places in 


<M3tmtry, distinguishing herself everywhere for her ge- 
nerosity, piety and abstinence, so that her fame spread 
£&c and near amoi^ the people. She was once called 
tx} an audience with the Pope, when she earnestiy ex- 
iiorted him to remove the Papal See from Avignon 
'back to Rome. She even permitted her father-con- 
fessor to inform him what the Virgin Mary had revealed 
Ix) her, that he would die immediately on going to 
Avignon. He however paid no attention to this, did 
remove, and died immediately on his arrival. This 
increased Brigitta^s consequence not a little, so that 
the people imagined that whatever she did was directiy 
prescribed to her by God. 

Two of Brigitta's sons. Sir Carl and Sir Birger, came 
in 1370 to visit their mother in Rome ; and she was 
permitted to present both to the Holy Father. Birger, 
-who was more serious, had clad himself in a wide robe 
down to the feet with an ordinary belt round his 
waist, so that his dress was grave and courtiy at the 
same time ; but Sir Carl, who was a very proud and 
lively youth, had adorned himself in the gayest fashion 
of the time. His breast was covered with chains, and 
the collars of different orders, and a silver belt roimd 
his middle ; his cloak was made of entire ermine skins 
which were stuffed, and had each a gold bell round the 
neck, and a gold ring in their mouths, so that at every 
movement he made, the bells rang and the stuffed er- 
mines waved up and down as if they were alive. When 
the Pope looked at die brothers, he said to Sir Birger, 
"Thou art thy mother's child ;"'— but to Carl, "And 
thou a child of this world." Then Brigitta fell on her 
knees before him, and prayed the remission of sins for 
her sons. But the Pope touched Carl's belt, and lifted 
his cloak, saying : "The wearing this heavy dress is 

272 mSTORT OF sweden. 

already sufficient plagae and penance.'' Then St. 
Brigitta exclaimed, ^ O holy fistther part him from his 
sins! I shall be able to part him £rom his belt!'' 

Some time after Brigitta related that Christ had 
desired her to visit the Holy Sepulchre ; that she had 
excused herself on aoooont of her old age and infirmi- 
ties, bnt that Christ had answered: ^ Who is the Lord 
of natore? I shall give thee strength. I shall carry 
thee back, and be thy guardian." Then Brigitta de- 
termined on this journey, which took place in 1372, 
and her two sons Birger and Carl, her daughter Chris- 
tina, and some of her nearest relations were in her 
company. They stopped some time in Naples, where 
Brigitta was received with reverence by Queen Johanna, 
who then governed the country. Brigitta had instruct- 
ed her sons how they should advance towards the 
Queen, salute her respectfully, and then fall on their 
knees and kiss her feet, as was then the custom ; and 
Birger acted accordingly. But when Carl had bowed 
to the Queen, he stepped boldly forward, and kissed 
her on the mouth instead of on tiie foot to the great 
horror of his pious mother and all the courtiers. But 
Queen Johanna instead of being angry at his presump- 
tion, took so much fancy to him, that she would not^ on 
any account, let him leave her, and even declared that 
she had chosen him for her husband. Saint Brigitta 
objected that this could by no means be, as Sir Carl 
was married and had his wife at home in Sweden. 
But the Queen said she did not care for that, and it 
should be as she desired. Then was Saint Brigitta sorel 
grieved and afflicted, and all the more as Carl seeme 
to be quite ready for this double marriage. She toe 
her refuge in God, imploring him to deliver her son froi 
so great a crime. And her prayer was granted, fc 


Sir Carl soon fell sick and died. The Queen lamented 
liim much^ and caused him to be buried at her charges^ 
as if he had been her lord and husband; but Brigitta 
tiianked God for her son's deliverance from crime and 
eternal death. 

After this, with the rest of her companions, she pur- 
sued her way to Jerusalem, where she visited every 
holy spot, though her health was failing. However she 
was enabled to make her way back to Rome ; but imme- 
diately on her arrival her sickness increased. She 
often thought she had revelations, and heard the 
Saviour's voice strengthening and consoling her in 
her suffering. At last she died in 1S73, seventy years 
of age. 



The fame of Saint Brigitta's sanctity was so great at 
the time of her death, that the people streamed in 
throngs to the Convent of San Lorenzo in which she 
had died, in order to touch her body quite worn out by 
fasting and penance, that the funeral could not take 
place for two days. It was at last decided that the 
nuns of the convent should retain the left arm as a 
relic and great treasure; the rest was carried home to 
Sweden by her children, Birger and Catherine, and the 
Prior of Alwastra who had also been with her to Jeru- 
salem. When the ships cast anchor at Söderköping, 
many people were collected to see and touch these holy 
remains ; and wherever the procession stopped, the peo- 
ple collected around to listen to the Prior's oration on 
her sanctity. When the corpse approached Linköping, 

N 3 


the Bishop and many of the inhabitants of the town 
advanced in festival robes to meet the procession ; the 
bells in every town were rung, the oi^ns played in 
every Church, and a solemn mass read in the CathedraL 
After this the corpse was carried to the convent in 
Wadstena, which Bngitta had founded before her set- 
ting out. 

But several of Brigitta's relations and friends tiiougbt 
this was still insufficient honour for her piety, and de- 
sired that she should be canonised by the Pope. Many 
others in Sweden were of the same mind, tiiat the 
country might have the honour of having produced a 
saint. Catharine therefore carried several letters to 
this effect to the Pope ; but she could not get her de- 
mand attended to, on account of the disputes r^arding 
a Papal election which was going on at the time. Some 
years after another messenger was despatched on the 
same errand, and the Pope then appointed a tribunal 
of three Cardinals who should examine the claims. 
Much was said of her revelations, of how she conld 
foretel events, how she could immediately recognise 
sinners by a smell of sulphur which proceeded from 
them, and so on. Finally the Cardinals declared 
themselves satisfied, and the Pope appointed the 7th 
of October, 1391, for the canonization. The whole 
preceding day, as on the day itself, all the bells in the 
town were rung 3 in the morning, the Pope, followed 
by Patriarchs, Bishops and other prelates, went to the 
great chapel which was lighted with candles and 
torches, hung with precious cloths, and strewed wii " 
odoriferous flowers. The Pope made a speech, prayei 
were read. Veni Sancti Spiriius was sung, after whic 
the Pope declared Brigitta a Saint, and the Te Deui 
was struck up. The following day, the Pope hims€ 


performed mass in St. Peters, which was lighted up 
by thirty thousand lamps, candles and torches excepted. 
The third day, the Pope presented himself before the 
multitude, holding in his hand a golden book, in which 
he himself inscribed Saint Brigitta's name amongst the 
angels and those of the other saints. All this mag- 
nificence cost five thousand ducats. Her bones, which 
had been carried to Rome, were now restored to Swe- 
den, and solemnly enshrined in 1393. The Archbishop 
of Upsala, bishops, priests, knights, noblemen, ladies, 
and damsels from the three Northern kingdoms were 
then collected at Wadstena. The holy relics were laid 
in a silver chest, which was borne by four bishops into 
the Church, and placed on the high altar with prayers, 
masses, music and much solemnity, for no native of the 
North had ever been canonised by the Pope before. 

The convent which Brigitta had founded in Wad- 
stena gained daily more consideration. A general tax 
of a penny on each person in the country was allotted 
to the convent by King Albrecht ; it was built of stone, 
and in 1394 solemnly consecrated to the Virgin Mary 
and Saint Brigitta, who were as a couple of friends to 
protect the coimtry in all its distresses. The inhabi- 
tants, who were called Brigittines, or the Order of St. 
Salvador, consisted of eighty-four persons, five-and- 
twenty monks, and sixty nuns. Their rules were said to 
have been presented to Saint Brigitta by Jesus Christ 
in person ; they consisted first, as in all other convents, 
of the vows of chastity, obedience, and voluntary po- 
verty. Besides this they were to lie on straw without 
sheets, and with only a woollen covering. Instead of 
linen next their skin, they were to wear a woollen shirt, 
and a cloak of grey serge with such long sleeves that 
the whole hand was covered by them. The forehead 


and cheeks were covered by a cap, on which a white 
Knen cloth was fastened. The greater part of the day 
they were to pass in prayers and chanting, or in a 
perfect silence. The rest of their time was employed 
in reading, writing, and sewing, for all idleness was 
strictly forbidden. They were to prepare themselves 
for the highest Church festivals by fasts on bread and 
water ; a great part of the year they were to live on the 
same provisions as in Lent, and during the remainder 
only to eat meat four times a week, the rest of their 
food was vegetables, fish, and milk. As a memento of 
their mortality, they had a bier always standing at the 
church door, and an open grave in the church-yard. 

None of the convents in the kingdom attained to the 
celebrity of that of Wadstena. Yearly pilgrimages 
were made to it on St. Brita's day, and many noble 
and royal ladies, who were persecuted by misfortune, 
shut themselves up here firom the world, seeking in the 
stillness of the convent and in the exercises of devotion 
and penance, the forgiveness of their sins, and the peaoe 
and happiness which they had not found in the world. 

These and many other pious persons often be- 
queathed considerable portions of their estates to the 
convent of Wadstena, which besides by royal ordina- 
tions and gifts of pilgrims rose to great riches. It 
finally attained such celebrity that many other convents 
were founded throughout the Northern countries for 
the Brigittine order, which all honoured Wadstena as 
the Mother Church. But these great riches proved a 
temptation to the inhabitants to forsake their fix " 
strict mode of life. Thus we find that during the tii 
of the convent's greatest prosperity, they consum 
yearly one hundred and twenty tons of rye, tweni 
four tons of wheat, two hundred and eighty-eight to 


of malt, forty-eight tons of barley, twenty tons of 
butter, one hundred and twenty oxen, three hundred 
sheep, nine stone of pork, one hundred stone of cheese, 
two tons of honey, an abundance of fish, and every 
thing else in proportion, so that their fast does not 
seem to have been very severe. It is also very certain 
that the other vows of their order were at that time 
not better kept; they required greater self-denial and 
strength than men usually possess, and often exacted 
empty and useless exercises ; so that they were in the 
end despised, and here, as in most other convents, ma- 
nifold sins and vices were hidden under a veil of hypo- 
crisy and devotion. 






Though at the battle of Gata Forest near Euköping, 
Ålbrecht had taken Magnus Smek prisoner, his power 
was far from established throughout the kingdom, for 
the partisans of the dethroned monarch kept possession 
of many castles and districts of the south and west of 
Sweden, which gave rise to continual disturbances and 
war with King Håkan of Norway, who sought to assist his 
father. Albrecht also presently brought on himself the 
displeasure of both the people and nobles by his extrava- 
gance and new taxes, but yet more by the preference 
he showed to the Germans. Neither had he exerted 
himself to regain Skåne, Hålland, and Bleking, but had 
on the contrary resigned them and other property to 
Waldemar, so that disappointing the expectations 
which had been formed of him, he was taken in general 
disgust. Håkan on the watch to take advantage of this, 
broke with a strong Norwegian army into the country; 
and as he found partisans in many places, and nowhere 
a steady resistance, he advanced as far as Stockholi 
to which he laid siege. He had pitched his camp c 
the heights of Kungsbacken, or fang's Hill, whos 
name yet bears testimony to his position. 

Albrecht beginning now seriously to fear for h 


crown, sought help from the chief nobles with whom 
he had before been in disgrace. The reconciliation was 
made in the Franciscan Church, where the King, in for- 
mal letters-patent, acknowledged : ^^ that his servants 
had exercised all manner of violence towards the na- 
tives of the country, which had caused great distrust 
to arise between them and himself. This had certainly 
taken place against his will ; still he granted he was 
wrong in not having paid sufficient attention to the 
complaints of his subjects ; neither had he, with suffi- 
cient severity, looked after his officers, which fault he 
promised in future fully to amend. As a proof of 
further confidence, he delivered all his castles into the 
hands of the Senators, from whose resolves he reserved 
to himself no right to depart. If one of the Senators 
died, not he, but they had the right to nominate a 

Those to whom this power was granted were th« 
Bishops, and twelve gentlemen of the Senate, among 
whom were Charles Ulfsson Sparre of Tofta, the Riks- 
marshal Erik Kettilsson Wase, and Bo Jonsson Grip, 
the most powerful of all. 

After this paper was signed and sealed, the Lords 
made effective preparation for Albrecht's defence ; so 
that Håkan losing all hope of further success concluded 
a peace on condition that his father. King Magnus, 
should be set free and receive a maintenance, in return 
for which both Magnus and Håkan gave up to Albrecht 
their pretensions to Sweden and Skåne, and paid be- 
sides twelve thousand marks of pure silver, for which 
sum the Norwegian Lords became bound. ' In this 
manner Magnus Smek was set at liberty, and the 
Swedish Castles were made over to the Senators. 




Kino Waldemar Otterdao of Denmark^ the 
same who had cajoled Magnus Smek out of Skane, 
Halland^ and Bleking, had three children, Christopher^ 
Margaret, and Ingeborg. Margaret was in no wise 
good-looking, being of a dark complexion, more like a 
man than a woman, and strong both in body and mind, 
whence her father used to say, that nature had mistaken 
in making her a woman. As has been already told, she 
was betrothed to King Håkan of Norway, Magnus 
Smek's son in her early infancy. This marriage, spite 
of many impediments, was finally celebrated in 1365, 
so that Margaret bore the crowns of Sweden and Nor- 
way on her head at the age of eleven years, and her 
brother Christopher dying during the celebration of 
the rejoicings attendant on her marriage, she and her 
sister became the inheritrices of Denmark. She was 
now sent with her husband to Norway, but stiU being 
very young and childish, a governess was placed over 
her, who was Lady Martha, daughter of Saint Brigitta. 
Under her care. Queen Margaret grew up, together with 
the Lady Martha^s daughter Ingegerd ; and as the said 
Lady was very strict, the Queen and the maiden were 
often made to smart under the same rod ; but a steady 
friendship and attachment existed ever after between 

When King Waldemar died in 1375, Prince Olof 
Margaret and Hakan's only son, was elected King, bu 
being yet but a child, his mother was appointed Regent 
Five years after (1380,) Håkan died, when Margare 
became her son's guardian. At last in 1387, this Ok 


himself died, and thus Margaret inherited both the 
kingdoms of Norway and Denmark, and though other 
Princes strove to wrest them from her, she knew how 
to counteract their eflForts, and retained by her might 
and her judgment, what she had received from birth 
and fortune. 


OF albbecht's ggvbbnment. 

King Albbecht loved the great Lords but Uttle for 
the laws for their own advantage they had compelled 
him to sign ; he therefore turned to his countrymen, the 
Germans, whom he encouraged to come into the king- 
dom, and preferred by every means in his power. Our 
old chronicles complain bitterly of this, saying : " Who- 
ever came from Germany and could dance and sing, im- 
mediately got one hundred marks of silver, and cloaks 
and gilded bells. Even though these foreigners were of 
low degree, the King called them Uncle and friend^ to 
give them more consequence, and get them all the rich 
marriages in the land.^' But the Swedish nobles sel- 
dom experienced any favour. The peasantry suffered 
cruelly, for the German soldiery, who came into the 
country, committed the greatest crimes unpunished, 
and excited the utmost hatred by their lawless conduct. 

The King increased these feelings by keeping such a 
magnificent and splendid Court, that his revenues were 
far from sufficient ; this made him oflenimpose new taxes, 
which were very ill-received ; and when these did not 
suffice, he borrowed money on the right hand and left. 

During this time Bo Jonsson Grip had become a 
very mighty and powerful man, and was as it were the 


head and leader of the Senate, which held almost every 
Ibrtress in the country in their hands. His power was 
such diat the King dared not gainsay it, and he sum- 
moned and presided at Diets without either the King's 
knowledge or consent. A complete license grew out of 
this ; and whoever had sufficient power committed the 
greatest crimes unpunished. Matts Gustafsson mur- 
dered Bishop Gottskalk, at Linderås Church (137^) ; 
and spite of the influence and excommunications of the 
priests^ sufiered no severer punishment than seven 
years after giving up some land to Linköping Church. 
Bo Jonsson Grip himself, excited by a burning jea- 
lousy, murdered Sir Carl Nicklasson Ferla before the 
high altar in the Franciscan Church at Stockholm, and 
it was never said that any one dared on that account 
to accuse or fine him. 

Thus the kingdom seemed at the mercy of wind and 
wave driving on to its ruin ; but of all the classes the 
peasants suffered most. These were either on the 
lands of the clergy or nobility, or dse on crown lands. 
The first mentioned suffered least, as the churches and 
convents treated them with more mercy than the 
nobles, who used their people like slaves. But the 
crown-peasants suffered worst and most, for they were 
often wronged and plundered by the King's stewards 
and others, and had none to protect them but the law 
and King Albrecht ; both equally helpless. When they 
came to Albrecht imploring, " Sweet Sir King, get us 
our rights V* he answered, " Ich kan nicht bettem min 
leue knekt ;'^ " I can^t help it, my dear fellow.'* W; 
which answer the peasants were obliged to retire « 
companied by the ridicule and laughter of the courtiei 




The powerful Bo Jonsson died in 1386, and left a 
greater fortune than any individual had ever possessed. 
As fief or mortgage^ he held the following castles : 
Stockholm, Nyköping, Calmar, Wiborg, Raseborg, 
Tavastehus, Korsholm, öresten, Oppensten, and Rum- 
laborg, together with the lands and provinces belong- 
ing to them. Besides this, he possessed great estates 
throughout the kingdom, some of which were inherited, 
others acquired ; and an idea may be formed of his 
immense riches in moveables, when it is told that he 
willed away one hundred and fifteen thousand marks of 
silver besides his ready money. He appointed ten of 
the chief Lords in the kingdom as executors and trus- 
tees, among whom two Bishops, the Riksmarshal Erik 
Kjellsson Wase, Algot Månson Sture, and Tord Bonde, 
who immediately took his fortresses and estates into 
their hands. 

Bo Jonsson being dead, Albrecht thought himself rid 
of a strong opponent, and a great hindrance in his 
undertakings. He therefore proposed that every third 
hemman* of the free lands of both clergy and nobles, 
should be made over to the crown, and began by force 
to execute his intention ; but he by this means roused 
the clergy and nobles against him, who had not suffered 
much previously. Some abandoned the country ; others, 
those particularly who administered Bo Jonsson's pro- 
perty, defended themselves by arms at their fortified 
houses against the King's aggressions ; and such was 
the insecurity, that people scarcely ventured to go 
* Hemman, a measure of land. 


beyond their own doors. At last they began to look 
after foreign assistance, and turned their choice on 
Margaret, who now ruled over both Denmark and 
Norway. Algot Månson made over öresten and Op- 
pensten in West Gothland to her, and immediately 
after she was elected Queen by Bo Jonsson^s executors ; 
on which she gave her kingly word, that " she would 
govern the kingdom according to its laws, let all 
retain their privileges and help the Lords against 
Albrecht/' with other very favourable articles. 

This war wearing a threatening appearance, Albrecht 
called together from Germany a great army which 
could boast of many Princes, Dukes, and Counts^ and 
shone in all manner of pomp and magnificence. The 
Germans boasted, and promised each to kill three 
Swedes wherever they should meet them; and Al- 
brecht coxmted on a certain victory. He made a vow, 
not to use a hat till he had driven out Margaret^ and 
sent her a whetstone several yards long on which he 
counselled her to sharpen her scissars and needles 
instead of using a sceptre; and spoke of her sometimes 
by the contemptuous name of King Breachless ; some- 
times called her the Monk-maid, because she was 
accused of having the Abbot of Sorö for her lover. 
Margaret, wiser than he, showed no arrogance; but 
drew herself back, setting Erik Wasa at the head of 
her troops which included many Danes. This Erik 
was highly irritated against Albrecht, on account of his 
having protected a German knight named Bernhard 
the Long, who had carried off Erik's daughter, Eliza- 
beth, out of the convent of Risberga, in which she wa 
a nun. The armies met at Nyckelängen near Fal 
köping, and Erik Wasa placed them so that they had t. 
morass in front, and a hill on one side. Several of the 


old men warned Albrecht against attacking the Swedes 
in this position; bat Gerard Snakenborg and some 
other young men easily persuaded the King whom 
they pretended to believe invincible. Albrecht beUeved 
them, dubbed Gerard a knight, gave the signal of 
attack, and descended into the valley to cross the 
morass which divided them from the Swedes. But the 
greater part of the Germans got presently entangled 
with their horses in the swamp, and but few got over ; 
who, after a short struggle, were overpowered by the 
Swedes. These hastened on to attack the rest of the 
enemy, now in disorder. Gerard Snakenborg, the 
newly dubbed knight, was the first to fly, and Albrecht, 
running wildly up and down, meeting one of the old 
men who had warned him in the morning against fight- 
ing, exclaimed ; *^ O. grauer, grauer ! Hatte ich dir 
gefolget V^ ^^ Old man, old man 1 Had I but heeded 
tjiee V' But he too late perceived his error, for Erik 
Wasa had won a complete victory ; and King Albrecht, 
his son. Prince Erik, and many Swedish and German 
nobles were taken prisonerst 

Albrecht and the rest were carried to Lödöse, where 
Margaret was ready to meet them* Seeing herself now 
the strongest, she in her turn made all manner of jest 
of the fettered and defenceless King. Amongst many 
other things of the kind, she caused a hat with nineteen 
yards of cloth hanging from it to be set on his head, as 
the punishment of his boastful vow, with many other 
practical jokes. Finally he and his son were conveyed 
to the castle of Lindholm in Skåne, where they were 
shut up in strict confinement. 




In Germany as in Sweden, the nobles lived in their 
fortified castles, fearing and obeying none, neither the 
Kings nor the laws. When they required money or 
anything else, they rode out with their armed followers^ 
and cared not whom they attacked, so that they could 
but carry off booty. They therefore particularly liked 
lying in wait for merchants with their trains ; and partly 
by force, partly by unjust extortions, making them- 
selves masters of their goods and money ; which style 
of robbing was more practised in Germany than else- 
where. For these reasons many of the commercial 
towns there entered into an agreement together to 
protect by their mutual aid, their mutual commerce. 
This was called the Hanseatic League, and was first 
entered into by Hamburgh and Liibeck; but other 
cities were gradually admitted into it, so that at last it 
included almost all the ports of the Baltic. The Han- 
seatic League had their factories and warehouses every- 
where, thus mastered the commerce, and attained such 
riches, that they often carried on long and severe wars 
with the northern Princes. 

To trade with these Hanseatic towns, many Germans 
had come to establish themselves in the commercial 
ports of Sweden, such as Stockholm, Söderköping and 
Calmar. The favour which Albrecht showed the Ger- 
mans brought a still greater influx, till they made 
last a considerable portion of the population of th< 
towns ; and hatred and envy between them and t 
native inhabitants often broke out, especially dun 
the war between Margaret and Albrecht, when t 


Swedes held for the former, and the Germans for the 
latter. In Stockholm, where the Castle was garrisoned 
by Germans, they got the upper hand, and kept it 
for Albrccht though he was a prisoner. Queen Mar- 
garet caUed them by the nick-name of the Hat-brothers. 
These feared that the Swedish burghers would give up 
the town to the Queen and the Senate, which forced 
them always to wear their armour; and when they met 
any Swede, they called him traitor and other ill-names. 
A general disorder being on the point of breaking out, 
the people were summoned to St. Gertrude^s Guild, 
where the Burgomaster and council instituted a union, 
the rules of which included that, ^^no one should speak 
ill of Princes, Knights, Ladies, Maidens, Towns, or any 
one ;'' and Swedes and Germans thereon swore each 
other a continual friendship and brotherhood, and pro- 
mised to hold together whatever should befal. 

Not long after this, however, the Hat-brothers fell 
on and imprisoned two Swedish burghers, Peter Ålän- 
ning, and Albrecht Carlsson. When Burgomaster 
Bertil Brun saw this, he complained " of the citizens 
suffering such violence, and of his not having the power 
to prevent it.^^ One of the German soldiers who heard 
his words knocked him down, beat him both blue and 
bloody, and then dragged him to the Castle where he 
was thrown into the tower with the other two. The 
chief instigator of this treacherous deed was Alf Grene- 
rot, one of the Hat-brothers. 

When the Swedes heard these proceedings, they 
armed and collected on the Great Square, as did the 
Germans Ukewise ; but being in inferior numbers they 
sought, under pretence of a false reconciliation, to sepa- 
rate the Swedes ; who, however, this time did not allow 
themselves to be deceived, but went up to the Town- 


Hall^ and asked^ ''Why the burghers had not been 
proceeded with according to the laws of the town, 
instead of being thrown into prison unheard and un- 
condemned?'^ The counsellors answered, ''That they 
bad nothing against the prisoners, and would cause 
them to be set at liberty. The following Saturday, 
thirty Swedes and thirty Oermans, met in the Town- 
Hall, and entered into a new treaty of unity and peace, 
which was confirmed by solenm vows on both sides to 
God and the Virgin Mary ; and after this there was 
quiet in the town Saturday and Sunday. 

During this leisure, however, Alf Grenerot took 
advice with the Hat-brethren how they could get the 
upper-hand of the Swedes. In the evening when 
vespers had been sung and the city gates shut, the 
Germans armed secretly and collected in the Guild; 
their Burgomaster going backwards and forwards be- 
tween the Guild-room and the Castle, plotting the 
treachery which was afterwards executed. On the 
dawn of Monday morning, it happened that an old man 
passing between the Castle and the Guild heard voices 
in the latter. In his surprise he went in, and found 
some of the German Lords there who ordered him to 
desire the whole Senate immediately to assemble at the 
Council-house before the people began to fill the 
streets, for an important message had arrived requir- 
ing their immediate consideration. The man did as 
he was desired ; but scarcely had some of the Swedish 
Senators arrived, ere he saw sixty armed German 
soldiers march out of the Castle on the Square. The 
old man then rushed into the Council-house, warn 
them " to beware of treachery, for the armed men 
left the Castle;^' but Alf Grenerot said that the 
man "behaved most foolishly,'^ and on this sen 


private message to the soldiers to tarry yet awhile. 
All the Senators being assembled^ he sent orders both 
to the Castle and the Guild-room, which brought sixty 
soldiers from the former and one thousand well-armed 
German burghers from the latter on- the square. « The 
Swedish Lords seeing these armed men, perceived that 
their lives were now at stake, and remarked that they 
had certainly heard of such a thing before, but would 
not believe it. Alf Grenerot answered that whoever 
was the King's friend would find this right, and 
desired the list of the accused to be read forthwith. 
In it the names of persons were found who had already 
been four years dead, so old was the Ust; and it was 
King Albrecht alone who had prevented the Germans 
carrying their murderous intentions into execution 

As soon as they were counted, the soldiers seized 
them by the belt, and dragged them into the Castle, 
where many other town's-people were conducted and 
tortured with wooden saws to force them to confess 
treason against King Albrecht ; but they all maintained 
their innocence. The following day, Tuesday, three of 
the Swedish prisoners were burnt. Alf Grenerot went 
up by night to the Castle, promising the captain half of 
• the prisoners' inheritance if he would immediately per- 
mit them to be burnt. On this all the imprisoned gen- 
tlemen, sixty in number, were taken out, put into boats, 
find rowed over to Käpplingeholm (the part of Stock- 
holm now called Blasieholm.) Here, bound hand and 
foot they were thrown into an old wooden house ; a 
priest confessed them, and he solemnly declared that 
they were innocent of the crime for which they suffered. 
The Hat-brothers however paid Uttle attention to this, 
but set the house on fire in which the unhappy fettered 

VOL. I. o 


men were burnt alive. This happened on tihe night 
between the 11th and 12ih of July 1389. The fol- 
lowing day such a terrible thunder storm took place 
with such floods of rain in Stockhohn^ that every one 
believed both the town and its inhabitants would be 
washed away> and not a soul ventured to set a foot 
out of doors. The people in this thought they saw 
a sign of the wrath of Heaven on the crime which 
had been committed. 



King Albrecht's relations and partisans in Ger- 
many now equipped a number of privateers which cot 
off the Swedish^ Danish, and Norwegian trading vessels, 
and plundered the inhabitants of the coast. They 
were called Fetalie Brothers, as their chief business 
was to provide Stockholm with provisions and victuals, 
which were then called Fetalier. They were in com- 
pany with the Hat-brothers, and so they easily sailed 
into Lake Malar by the Norrström, burning and ravag- 
ing the banks on either side. Enköping and Westerås 
were burnt, and when the peasants collected at Tillinge 
Church, they were mercilessly cut down by the Fetalie- 
brothers at Bondeberg and Skadeberg, as it is called, 
in memory of the action. Linköping Malmö, Helsin- 
borg, and finally Bergen were burnt by these free- 
booters, who cared neither for the anger of the K''*'^ 
nor the excommunication of the Bishops. Margr t 
certainly equipped a fleet, which under the comm I 
of Abraham Broderson Tjurhufvud, and Algot Må • 
son Sture was to besiege Stockholm in 1393 ; but Jc , 


Duke of Mecklenbiwg, appeared with his fleet, and 
obliged them to raise the siege. The following year, 
Master Hugo, the leader of the Fetalie-brothers, came 
with eight ships to revictual Stockholm which again 
began to suiBFer hunger, but being kept out by storms 
until late in the autumn, it happened that his fleet 
froze fast amid the Skares. Perceiving that now he 
could hope no peace for the Swedes, he began hewing 
timber on the neighbouring islands with which he 
made a fortification round his ships. He caused water 
to be occasionally poured over this wall, which freezing 
immediately, it became like an iceberg. As soon as the 
Swedes heard that the Fetalie-brothers were frozen in, 
they hastened as they thought to their destruction ; but 
as they could not cross the icy rampart, they built in 
the greatest haste a machine called a Cat, that is a 
tower which could be pushed forward on wheels. When 
Master Hugo saw the Cat was ready to attack, he had 
the ice before his fortress secretly sawn in the night, 
and was so favoured by fortune, that after the work 
was completed, it froze slightly, and a light snow fell 
in the morning, so that not a trace of the night's busi- 
ness could be seen. The Swedes now mounted the 
Cat and began to push it onwards, and the Fetalie- 
brothers stood on their ice rampart beholding their 
sport. As the Cat advanced towards the ships, the ice 
cracked beneath it, and the machine with all the men 
who armed it sunk into the sea and were lost, while 
the FetaUe-brothers clapped their hands and shouted, 
*' Katz, katz, katz V^ to the sinking tower. 

After this the Swedes lost all courage to make fur- 
ther attempts to seize Master Hugo; who, after the 
breaking up of the ice, conveyed his cargoes safely to 
I Stockholm. 
i o2 




The sufferings of the three kingdoms may be ima- 
gined from this state of things ; Margaret had no power 
to make the Hanseatic towns submit, ai^ they had not 
sufficient to set King Albrecht free. After many at- 
tempts at reconciliations, peace was finally concluded 
in 1395 between Margaret and Albrecht, on the condi- 
tions that he and his son Erik should be set at liberty, 
but that they on their side should in the course of three 
years pay the Queen either sixty thousand marks of 
silver, or give up Stockholm to her and all pretensions 
to Sweden. Eight of the Hanseatic towns became 
cautipn for the fulfilment of these terms, and the castle 
of Stockholm was meanwhile entrusted to their protec- 
tion. By these means Albrecht and his son were 
finally delivered from prison ; Albrecht went to Meck- 
lenburg, and his son to Gothland. 

When Margaret was thus more at peace, she in 
1396 caused Henrik, Duke of Pomerania who was 
her grand-nephew, to be elected her successor in the 
three kingdoms ; and had his name changed to Erik, 
which being more familiar in the north, she thought 
would be more loved by the people. He on his side, 
when he received the homage of his new subjects, gave 
his royal word: 1st. That he would maintain every one 
*in his privileges ; 2nd, Not to condemn any against the 
laws ; 3rd. To take the Swedes as Senators in Swe^ i, 
and ^ve the Castles and provinces to their admini: i- 
tion ; 4th. Not to diminish the revenues of the crc i, 
or lay on new taxes, except in case of war. It was ' o 
settled that many of the estates, which had been ^ 


during Albrecht's reign, should be restored to the crown ; 
the fortified castles of the nobility should be razed, and 
many other conditions which extended the Queen's 

The following year, 1897^ she assembled a Diet of 
the three kingdoms in Calmar, and Erikas coronation 
was celebrated there on the 10th of July. On the 
twentieth of the same month, or Margaret's day, the 
celebrated Calmar-Union was concluded and sworn to. 
It contained : 1st. That the three kingdoms should 
remain ever united under one sovereign ; 2nd. That a 
new King should be chosen by the votes of the Senate 
of the three imited kingdoms, and not by the Senate 
of any kingdom separately; 3rd. That each kingdom 
should be governed by its own laws and customs, — and 
several other similar articles* This league was sworn, 
and signed, and two copies on parchment were preserved 
in each kingdom* 

The same year Prince Erik Albrechtsson died in 
Gothland ; and as the term for King Albrecht's payment 
expired in 1398, he found it difficult to furnish the mo- 
ney, the more especially as his son and successor was 
dead. He therefore gave the Hanseatic towns a letter, 
containing orders as he said for the commandant in 
Stockholm to .deUver up the Castle to Maigaret ; but 
when the letter was opened, its contents proved the 
very reverse. The officer however paid no heed to 
these treacherous commands, but deUvered up the 
Castle of Stockholm according to agreement, and Sten 
Sture, Albrechfs faithful adherent, made over the whole 
of Norrland to Margaret, who thus came into full pos- 
session of the three Northern kingdoms. 




Margarbt conducted her government with bolih 
power and might, and the North in her time enjoyed 
some repose after its many and sore troubles* She 
sought to weaken the powerful nobility who had befine 
caused so many disturbances, partly by gradually buy- 
ing their great possessions from them, partly also by 
marrying them into families of less consideration. It 
happened that a noble damsel named Christina Tott 
was betrothed to Holger Munk, who was also descend- 
ed from a family of ancient Danish nobility ; but Chris- 
tina was forced by the Queen to marry another man of 
lower descent She then gave her new-betrothed a 
gold ring, in which a bit of copper was set, with this 
inscription : ^^ Amend thyself, copper nail ! thou liest in 

To maintain herself against the nobles, the Queen 
flattered the clergy as much as she could without 
however giving them too much power. She showed 
herself particularly friendly towards Wadstena Con- 
vent, of which her foster-sister Ingegerd was Abbess. 
She caused herself to be inscribed among the nuns ; and 
on leaving it, kissed them all on the hand with much 
humility. However she was not holy in reality, and 
there was a report everywhere current that she had 
intimacy with the Abbot of Sorö, and Abraham Bro- 
dersson, and bore heirs to both. Her avarice » 
sometimes enticed her to forget her prudence ; foi • 
stance, when Archbishop Henry of Upsala died, he : 
all his money and precious effects to the Cathed 
The whole was packed into a great chest which 


put into a cart, and Dean Andreas seated himself on 
the load that it might with greater security be conveyed 
to the Church ; but the Queen's steward, with a body 
of soldiers fell on the procession. The Dean was 
thrown off the cart, the chest carried off» neither was it 
ever restored. 

Margaret was much loved and praised by the Danes, 
but not so much so by the Swedes^ who complained of 
her favouring Denmark at the expense of Sweden, 
because she hated the Swedes for all the trouble they 
had caused her husband King Håkan and his father 
Magnus Smek. She is said to have given Erik the 
advice, to ^^ feed himself on Sweden, to clothe himself 
from Norway, and to defend himself with Denmark/' 
When the Swedes complained that she had given over 
their castles and fortresses into the hands of foreigners 
expressly contrary to her letters and promises, she is 
said to have answered contemptuously : '^ Take care of 
my letters, I shall take care of your castles.'' But 
her stewards, or governors as they are now called, ruled 
in a cruel and merciless manner over the Swedes, and 
excited an indignation which was increased by the new 
taxes the Queen thought fit to lay on. The peasants 
were particularly enraged at an impost which she laid 
on every animal; and as they were counted by their 
tails, they called it by the contemptuous title of Queen 
Margaret's Tail-tax. But the fifteen-marks-help fell 
the heaviest of all ; it was laid on to redeem Gothland, 
which Albrecht had pawned to the Grand-Master of 
Livonia ; and though this impost was wholly paid by 
Sweden, Gothland was afterwards united to Denmark. 



xabgabbt'b obath. 

The older King Erik became, the more he wished to 
reign alone, and thus he did much against the Queen's 
will. On the death of Archbishop Henrik in Upsak, 
the Chapter chose Dean Andreas as his successor, and 
sought the Pope's confirmation of their dioice ; but 
King Erik would have them to take his Chancellor 
Johannes Jerichini for their Archbishop, because he 
engaged to do whatever the King and Queen desired of 
him. To this the Chapter would not agree, Johannes 
being a Dane by birth, and known as a very wicked 
and vicious man. Margaret however at last persuaded 
this very Bishop Andreas to resign the Archbishopric, 
and content himself with the Bishopric of Strengnas 
instead. For this reason he got the nickname of An- 
dreas Smek, and the Chapter of Strengnas would not 
accept him. Much discord and disunion arose about 
this matter ; and when Johannes became Archbishop, he 
shamed his Sovereign still more by his disgraceful be- 
haviour, so that it was at last requisite to displace him. 

Queen Margaret had begun a war with the Dukes in 
Holstein whom she thought she could easily overcome, 
but who by their bravery made her an obstinate re- 
sistance. During this war King Erik caused Abraham 
Brodersson, unknown to Margaret, to be taken prisoner, 
and beheaded without an instant's delay 3 assigning 
this man's disorderly life as the reason of this ( 
cedure; but the real cause more probably was, t 
Erik was envious of the great power he enjo 
through the Queen's favour. She much lamented 
favourite's death, and caused an altar to be erected 


his memory in the Cathedral of Lund, at which per- 
petual masses were to be said for his soul. 

Meanwhile ill-success attended the wa^ in Holstein. 
The northern armies suffered a complete defeat at 
Soldorp in 1410, and the three kingdoms groaned 
under their losses. At last Queen Margaret went to 
Flensburg to try to conclude a peace, but all her efforts 
were vain. As she embarked to leave the place, she 
was attacked by the plague, and died immediately on 
board the vessel, a.d. 1412» Albrecht of Mecklen- 
burg died the same year, so these two enemies followed 
each other to another world. 







King Erik, commonly called Erik the Thirteenth, 
or Erik of Pomerania, began his reign by various good 
and useful enactments. Some of Queen Margaret's 
stewards, who had been very harsh and tyrannical to- 
wards the people, were dismissed by him immediately 
after her death ; he made a new statute regarding the 
holding of Assizes and the administration of justice ; 
appointed certain places for high-way. inns, and many 
other regulations greatly to the advantage of the pea- 
santry which gained him much favour. 

But all the good which might have arisen out of this 
was done away by the unhappy war in Holstein. The 
King was determined to put down these petty Princes, 
who nevertheless by their bravery and prudence main- 
tained a powerful resistance. Every spring he arrived 
with a large army gathered out of his three kingdoms, 
and always gained great advantages at first by his great 
superiority of numbers. In one campaign, he took 
Schleswig; in another made himself master, afiber 
bloody battle, of the Island of Femern, where he p 
every male to the sword and carried away the worn 
and children ; but in the long run he always suffer 
heavy losses by the obstinate resistance he encor 


tered* He and his troops wearied out, returned home in 
autumn^ and the Dukes reconquered in winter what 
they had lost in spring. In this manner the war was 
carried on during thirty years. 

The three kingdoms were exhausted, but especially 
Sweden and Norway, from which heavy sums were 
drawn without ever giving a return. New and odious 
taxes were laid on the peasants and burghers on ac- 
count of the war, and the clergy themselves were often 
obliged to pay considerable contributions, though they 
resisted as long as they could, and appealed to their 
clerical privileges ; but the burden fell heaviest of all 
on the poorer nobility, thus continually obliged to re- 
equip their knights, maintain them in a foreign country, 
and finally often pay heavy ransoms for their relations 
when they were taken prisoners ; for to these particu- 
lars the King paid no heed though it was his province 
to have done so ; and in this manner many a nobleman, 
on account of debt, lost both house and land. 

King Erik was besides very unfortunate in his un- 
dertakings. The plague ravaged his dominions during 
the first years of his reign ; Stockholm was set on fire 
by lightning (1419) ; and as it was very closely built, 
and consisted for the most part of wooden houses, it 
burnt down with extraordinary rapidity from ten to 
twelve o'clock in the forenoon. Many hundred persons 
who had been unable to break through the crowd were 
buried under the burning houses; others flew to the 
havens, seeking to escape in boats ; but in their alarna, 
too many people rushed into these small craft, and 
more were lost in the water than by the fire. Even on 
sea. King Erik was pursued by violent storms, and 
was often shipwrecked ; and once, as a fiirther proof of 
his ill-fortune, when in the disguise of a merchant he 


was making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem^ he was taken 
prisoner by the Turks who recognized him by a por- 
trait which one of his enemies had made and sent 
there, and was obliged to ransom himself by a conside- 
rable sum. 



King Erik's wife^ Queen Philippa^ daughter of 
Henry IV of England, was a mild and gentle lady; 
was, moreover, gifted with much sense and a bold 
heart, when it was tried; for which reasons the King 
had much aid of her counsels in afiairs of moment 
Those who came to Court seeking redress of their 
grievances, always found protection from PhiUppa, who 
sought their relief by every means in her power* 
While King Erik was on his pilgrimage to Jerusalem, 
he confided the Government to her; and the united 
kingdoms equally felt the advantage of her administra- 
tion, as on her journeys through the three countries, 
she accommodated disputes and quieted many discon- 
tents. Amongst other things, in his stress for money, 
Erik had forced the people to accept coin below tbe 
standard which had been pecuUarly prejudicial to com- 
merce ; but during his absence, Philippa called in this 
money, and replaced it by coin of the full value* 

It happened during the Holstein war, that the Han- 
seatic towns also declared themselves against Ei 
They had some loss in the commencement ; but in 
spring of 1428, they sailed with a fleet of two hundr 
and sixty ships, and twelve thousand troops on bo' 
for Copenhagen, with the intention of burning 


town Unci choking the port. A force at that time so 
uncommon, struck the people with general panic, and 
Erik himself having supplied the town with ships and 
troops hid himself in Sorö-cloister till the danger was 
past ; but Fhilippa remained in Copenhagen with the 
terrified inhabitants. She encouraged the soldiers and 
summoned the young men, prompting them to defend 
themselves valiantly against the enemy. All with joy 
obeyed the summons of their beloved Queen ; and the 
courage and nimibers of the defenders were doubled. 
The enemy had struck piles for a sort of fortress in the 
centre of the haven, on which they pointed their artil- 
lery on the town and the Danish vessels; but the 
Danes constructed long and broad floats of thick 
timber, on which they placed their guns, and were thus 
able to keep the enemy off both the town and the ships. 
As they had heard that the Hanseatic allies had 
brought a good supply of salt with which they in- 
tended to pickle the beef they hoped to slaughter in 
Denmark, some young men took a cow, and leading 
her out on the floating bridge with many contemp- 
tuous phrases, bade them come and pluck a hair out of 
her tail if they dared. When the enemy saw that they 
effected nothing against Copenhagen and the ships^ 
they wished to destroy the port ; and it was determined 
that each town should sacrifice a ship to this end ; but 
in sinking them it happened that many sunk so as to 
occupy but the 9p&ce of their breadth instead of their 
lengdi; and the haven was so broad that it requir- 
ed more vessels than they could afford to close it, 
for which reason this project was abandoned, and the 
Hanseatic fleet at last obliged to retire without having 
gained anything by their great preparations and ex^ 
penses. The Queen sent to invite those who had lent 



their Tohmtary asaistanoe in the defence of the town 
to die palace, where ahe entertained them in the most 
coarteoos manner, *^thanlring them for the valour and 
fidelity they had ahown, and promising to speak for 
their best advantage with all grace and favour to her 
Sovereign Lord, King Edrik.^' 

Encouraged by this good fortune^ Queen Pbilippa 
wished to see if she could not have better success 
against the enemies of the country than King Erik had 
had. She therefore during his absence and unknown 
to him, prepared and equipped a fleet of seventy-five 
vessels with fourteen hundred men, who were to 
avenge at Stralsund the affironts which Denmark had 
suffered firom the Hanseatic towns. With hope and 
anxiety, Phihppa watched the departure of her little 
fleet, and with the same feelings she patiently awaited 
its return. Her hope was soon crushed, for but a few 
boats came back to relate the misfortunes of the rest 
The Danes had in the commencement met with some 
success, and burnt some ships ; but as the Hanseatic 
League got speedy information of the expedition, the 
town was so well defended that they were soon obliged 
to retire. One of the Burgomasters of Stralsund then 
incited the people to arm some large ships in haste^ 
with which they unexpectedly fell on, and nearly 
destroyed the little vessels of die Danes, so that but 
few escaped to tell the tale. Great was Philippa's 
sorrow, not only at the non-success of her enterpriscj 
but because her tender heart reproached her sorely for 
having been the cause of the misfortune and deadi 
so many. This was, however, not enough for the 
happy Queen. King Erik returned, and learnt 
whole history. Envious before at the glory and ( 
tinction she had acquired, he had long forgotten 


tenderness he had once felt for her, and therefore 
seized this opportunity to pour out his wrath against 
her. Remembering neither her good intentions, nor 
her perfect innocence in the want of success attending 
them ; neither reflecting on her high qualities, nor that 
she was a frail and delicate woman ; last, by forgetting 
that she was his wife, and in that situation in which a 
woman requires the utmost tenderness and considera- 
tion^ he broke out into hard words and reproaches ; he. 
even beat and treated her so ill that a premature labour 
was the consequence. The deeply injured Queen 
determined to retire from a world in which all her 
efforts, all her goodness had brought her but ingrati- 
tude and misfortune as her reward; but once more 
before resigning her rank and station, she had an 
opportunity to prove her loving and tender mind, and 
thus still more to increase the regrets of her subjects 
and endear her name to posterity. 

King Erik this year, 1426, had taken from Sweden 
with him a large fleet, well-manned and provisioned. 
The fleet lay the whole summer idle in the Sound; and 
when the provisions were consumed, the people asked 
the King either for their dismissal or new supplies ; 
but received neither. Some then deserted; others 
more faithful remained at their posts, and were at last 
obliged to part with both clothes and arms to buy 
food. At Michaelmas they were at last discharged by 
the King, but scarcely had made ready to sail when they 
were overtaken by a terrible storm. The masts were 
cut down, the ships wrecked, and the greater part lost. 
Some were thrown on Barsebeck on the Swedish coast ; 
others on the little Salt Island in the Sound. There 
the unfortunate crews remained without protection, 
without food, and without the means of getting away* 


To expect asristance firom Erik was all in vain ; but as 
soon as Qaeen Fhilippa heard of their distress, she sent 
them clothes and provisions, and caused those who had 
been drifted to Saltholm to be conveyed to Skane. 
Thence every one sought his way home as well as 
lie could; but wherever they spoke of their misfor- 
tunes and their rescue, they ended with grateful bless- 
ings on the kind Queen ; so that love to her was spread 
from vale to vale, and village to village, throughout the 
wide North. 

Fhilippa then retired firom the world and shut her- 
self up in Wadstena Convent, where she was received 
with veneration by the sisters, and followed by the love 
and regrets of her subjects. She did not, however, 
long enjoy the peace she sought. Grief at her misfor- 
tunes, and the illness which Erik's violence had brought 
on laid her in a few months in the grave. Erik saw 
now, but too late, what he had lost ; and to atone for 
his crime and honotur her memory, made rich dona- 
tions to churches and convents iu her honour. But 
light as he was, this sorrow was not of long duration; 
in other loves he soon forgot his faithful wife ; but his 
own mistakes and increased misfortunes, as well as the 
hatred of his subjects, ere long showed him that with 
Queen Fhilippa fortune had for ever fled from his 



Queen Margaret, as long as she lived, had uph 
King Erik's government; after her death Queen I 
lippa had done the same; however, he began latterl} 


despise her counsels, and followed those of his fa-» 
vourites instead, especially Henry Königsmark, so that 
the want of both reason and mercy began by degrees 
to mark his enterprises. Like Magnus Smek, Albrecht, 
Margaret, and almost all the sovereigns of that time in 
Europe, he laboured to put down the powerful nobility 
and priests, who despised the crown and oppressed the 
peasants ; but Erik's resistance wanted both justice, 
wisdom, and strength. By treachery and force he 
wished to subdue the strong, not to ease the suflFerings 
of^the weak, but to become himself sole ruler over all. 
He commenced and continued his undertakings against 
them with imprudence and inability, so that they gene- 
rally ended by further loss of power on his part. The 
clergy were against him because in defiance of their 
privileges, he sought to force Bishops upon them of his 
own election ; but as he always chose vicious and de- 
spicable men to the office, he lost his cause with the 
Pope, and his prelates were degraded. The nobility 
complained of the fortresses being trusted to strangers, 
and not to them ; but the discontent of the peasants 
was both greatest and most reasonable. The heavy 
imposts which they before paid in provisions, day's- 
labour, &c. they were now to make good in money ac- 
cording to the value which the King pleased to impose. 
As this value was high, and money scarce, many were 
ruined and their farms became deserts. That the royal 
taxes might not however suffer, it was proposed that 
every district should now collectively pay as much as 
before the population had decreased. By these in-< 
ventions of Henry Eönigsmark, the whole land was 
reduced to misery ; and what still more increased the 
poverty and discontent was the violent and unjust 
manner in which these taxes were collected. The 


Stewards were at first but little liked becamse they were 
foreigners ; but the harshness, injustice, and cruelty with 
which they treated the people, brought on them their 
general detestation, Driyen by avarice, they often laid 
heavy and unlawful imposts on the peasants ; and when 
they could not pay, took their land and distrained for a 
mark what was worth three. On the way to Church, 
or to the Ting, and even at home in their own houses 
they seized the peasants expressly contrary to Birger 
Jarl's Laws for Peace, constrained them by torture to 
give up whatever they desired, even to their wives and 
daughters. The unfortunate people^ in their distress, 
addressed themselves to the King, imploring him, ^^for 
God's sake, to order things that tiiey should enjoy more 
justice ;'' but Erik who was in continual want of 
money, and therefore could not do without the ez«* 
actions of his stewards, listened not to their com- 
plaints. They went from him often unheard, always 

Not one amongst the stewards had, however, been 
more cruel than Jösse Eriksson. He lived in Westerås 
Castle, and his jurisdiction extended over Westman- 
land and Dalarna.* With unheard-of injustice^ he 
robbed the peasants of their goods ; and when horses 
and oxen were in this way confiscated, he harnessed 
them to the plough, and their wives, even those 
that were with child, to the hay-carts. Helpless women 
were carried ofi^, and forced to satisfy his shameless 
appetites ; and many an honest man whose only crime 
was his riches, he caused to be falsely accused a 
judged that he might afiberwards come into possessi 

* ' The Vallies/ but we shall always mention it by the na 
which has gained this province and its inhabitants so much reno 
in Swedish History. 


of his property. When the peasants came to him to 
complain, he cut off their ears, whipped them, or let 
them be hung up in smoke till they were suffocated. 

Dalarna was in the remotest times a land but little 
visited, surrounded and occupied by lofty mountains^ 
and watered by the large and rapid Dalelf. Here lived 
the Dolmen^ or Dalkarls^ divided from the other pro- 
vinces. They were strong and muscular, for continual 
strife with a niggard and inflexible climate had hardened 
them ; laborious and frugal, as their poor soil required ; 
simple and uncorrupted in their morals, for foreign 
men and foreign customs seldom reached their distant 
corner. They deeply hated all injustice and tyranny, 
and that from strangers so much the more^ as they were 
for the most part peasants on their own property, and 
had never suffered anything from native Lords. Accus- 
tomed to fidelity and obedience to authority, they long 
endured Jösse Eriksson^s cruelty ; they sought justice 
from the King, but Jösse wrote to his protectors at 
Courts who persuaded Erik that the complaints of the 
peasants tv^ere groundless and rebellious. They were 
therefore turned back unredressed, and the exactions 
of their tax-gatherers were sure to increase after similar 
journies. Then a universal and violent murmur was 
heard through the land. The peasants collected in 
their vallies, spoke of their own sufferings, the cruelty 
of the steward, the injustice of the King. They looked 
with rage on the steward^s riders as they scoured the 
country ; they fretted to think that they, themselves so 
numerous and so strong, should suffer violence from a 
handful of hired soldiers. All was ready for rising; a 
leader alone was wanting. 

At this time lived Engelbrecht Engelbrechtsson by 
the copper mines of Fahlun. He was descended of a 


not very high, but at the same time a noble family. 
Though short of figure, he bore a dauntless courage in 
his breast, and was in addition eloquent, brave, and ex- 
ercised in all the arts and science of those days, as he 
had in his youth lived at the Courts of some of the 
chief nobility. He pitied the wrongs which the Dalmen 
suffered, and promised to go to the King and try to get 
justice for them, and deliverance from Jösse Eriksson^s 
oppressions. He accordingly set out for Copenhagen, 
where the King at first would give no ears to his com- 
plaints, and tried to get rid of him as he had done with 
others ; but Engelbrecht offered with his life to stand 
to the truth of his asseveration. He begged '^ the King 
to keep him prisoner, and call Jösse and witnesses firom 
Dalarna ; if before whom Engelbrecht should be unable 
to prove his words, he was ready to take the rope on 
his neck.^* " Thou art bold in tiiy words,'^ answered 
the King ; ^^let the Senate examine your dispute : such 
is our will.'' Engelbrecht then hastened back to Swe- 
den carrying the King's letters about the matter to the 
Council. They rode to Dalarna and held an investiga- 
tion, when Engelbrecht's words were found to be true, 
and the misery yet greater than he had represented. 
The Council wrote a letter including all particulars to 
the King, with which Engelbrecht speeded to Copen- 
hagen; but when he presented himself before Erik 
with it, the King grew wrath and said violently: 
**Thou complainest ever ! Go thy way, and come never 
again before my eyes.'' Then Engelbrecht turned from 
the King, and went out saying in a muttered tone 
himself: " Yet once again shall I return." 




When Engelbrecht brought this answer home to 
the peasants, they assented with one accord and deter- 
mined sooner to suffer death than to endure such 
oppression longer. They chose Engelbrecht for their 
Captain, and marched to Westeras in the autumn of 
1433 with the intention of expelling Jösse; but the 
Council met them there, and by promises of getting 
justice for them from the King persuaded them to re- 
turn home again ; however, the Dalmen made a solemn 
vow that they would never more pay taxes to Jösse 
Eriksson. The King notwithstanding did not choose 
to follow the advice of the Council; Jösse was per- 
mitted to remain in Westerås, and again sent out his 
men to gather the peasant-contributions. These then 
assembled anew in the spring of 1434, and marched 
under Engelbrecht to Westerås. There they were 
again met by the Senators who degraded Jösse from 
his office, and dismissing him prevailed on the peasants 
to return home a second time ; but Jösse fled to Den- 
mark, and the Dalmen soon heard that the King, far 
from awarding punishment for his cruelty towards 
them, irritated by his representations, threatened them 
with a yet harder task-master. 

So long and so often injured, they were now exas- 
perated, and collecting again under Engelbrecht, 
marched this time, not with the mere intention of 
getting rid of Jösse Eriksson, but of driving away all 
foreign Governors, destroying their castles, and deliver- 
ing the country from foreign rule. Only one such 
robbers' nest was to be found in Skåne, viz. the Castle 


of Borganäs, built on a peninsular in the Dal river, not 
far from Grade Ferry. The Steward John Wale fled 
in alarm to Köpingshus, and Borganäs was soon taken 
and burnt to the ground. On this the troops marched 
on to Köping ; John Wale again escaped to Stegeborg, 
and Köping Castle was destroyed. After this Engel- 
brecht summoned the Westmanlanders to meet him, 
and inquired if they would assist him in delivering the 
country. To this they agreed, and marched witii him 
to Westerås, where the castle was soon made over to 
Engelbrecht. He had before by a public letter invited 
,the nobles to assist him, threatening them otherwise 
with the loss of life and fortune ; and was there joined 
by many of their number, among others the Senator 
Nils Gustafsson Puke to whom Engelbrecht conflded 
the command of the Castle. Thence he marched to 
Upsala, where the Uplanders summoned to meet him 
there, promised to follow him, and where he, with the 
consent of the nobles who were with him, reduced a 
third part of the taxes they were then paying. As Engel- 
brecht could not himself cross to Finland at the time, 
he wrote to Sir Erik Puke, son of the above-mentioned 
Nils Gustafsson, who had the command of Korsholm 
Castle, begging him to assist in delivering the country. 
On this the insurrection spread in that quarter. Kastel- 
holm in Åland, Styresholm and Faxeholm, in Norrland, 
were taken and destroyed by Erik Puke's officers. 
When the people of Rekame heard of the success of 
the Dalmen, they advanced towards Grissholm where 
their steward Hartwig Flög resided. He dared t 
bide the attack of the irritated peasantry, but load: 
some boats with his moveables, set the Castle on 
and sailed for Stockholm. 
Engelbrecht had meanwhile reached it to besiege t 


Castle, the Danish Commandant of which^ Hans 
Kröpelm, was a very just, sensible and mild man, and 
much loved by the people. With him Engelbrecht 
concluded a truce till autumn, as he had no hopes of 
then being able to take the well-fortified Castle, and 
nothing but compulsion would make Hans Kropelm 
give up his master's trust. After this Engelbrecht 
proceeded to Örebro where the Commandant made 
terms for six weeks, as did the Commandant of the 
tiewly-erected fortress of Nyköping. The turn came 
next to Ringstaholm below Norrköping. The Com- 
mandant, Henrick Styke, thought the Castle impreg- 
nable from its situation on an island, and therefore 
defied Engelbrecht who began the siege ; but as it was 
going on, he having heard that the Bishops and 
Senators were assembled at Wadstena, rode hastily in 
that direction with one thousand chosen men, presented 
himself before them and represented to them, ^' how 
that every King, since the death of Magnus Laduslas, 
had cared but little for the weal of the country and 
people. They had been Lords for their own advantage, 
and not for that of the country which they had ruined 
by unjust taxes, and filled with foreigners, particularly 
King Erik ; and now he, Engelbrecht, had determined 
to rid the kingdom of this plague, and prayed the 
Lords to lend him their assistance in doing so." These 
answered : ^^ That they could by no means break the 
faith they had sworn the King, and that therefore they 
could not assist Engelbrecht."' 

He then represented to them that their fidelity de- 
pended upon that of the King who had broken it in 
such manifold ways, that they could with good con- 
science forsake him. But the Senate still refusing, 
Engelbrecht, after several renewed trials to gain them 


by persuasion, finding them immoTeable, struck on 
another chord. He solemnly assured them that they 
should either renounce all faith and loyalty to the 
King, or it should cost them their life and property. 
On this he seized Knut Bosson Nattoch Dag, Bishop 
of Linköping, by the collar to deliver him over to his 
soldiers, intending to do the same with the others ; but 
they then entreated him to spare them for they feared 
the rage of the peasants. Engelbrecht then dictated 
a letter in which the Lords renounced all obedience and 
fealty to the King. '^ 1^. Because he had appointed 
ignorant dunces as Bishops, who cared neither for 
God, the Pope or the Church ; 2^. Because he had 
appointed and preferred wicked and evil men to com- 
mand, and never punished his servants however tyran- 
nical they might have been ; 3^. Because he had wanted 
to rob the country of its right of election, and force 
his kinsman Duke Bugislaf upon them.'' 

This letter was signed by them all. Engelbrecht 
sent it by one of his servants to the King, and returned 
to his work. Ringstaholm fell, and John Wale was 
driven out of Stegeborg as he had been from Borganäs 
and Köping before. All East Gothland went over to 
the insurgents ; and as their army had grown to a great 
size, Engelbrecht divided it into different bodies, 
which under separate leaders were to attack the Castles. 
He succeeded so well that by the end of October, the 
whole country, with the exception of some few strong- 
holds, was cleared of its enemies. Engelbrecht who 
with his peasants had by this time proceeded as fa. 
Skåne, met there an army of the inhabitants collec 
against him, with whom he concluded a long tn 
He then dismissed his troops ; and it is no small hon 
for him that he had held them in such excellent orr 


that though they consisted of more than one hundred 
thousand exasperated peasants unaccustomed to autho- 
rity, no one could complain of their having committed 
the least violence anywhere, except having taken some 
provisions from a couple of nobles who were considered 
to be inclined to the Danes. To distinguish the latter 
from the Swedes, they ordered them to pronounce the 
words " Hvit Häst i Korngulf/^ which words it was 
impossible for the Danes to pronounce in the Swedish 
manner, though both languages were at that time very 


KINO EBIk's treachery. 

Kino Erik meanwhile prepared to come to Stock» 
holm before, the expiration of the truce concluded 
between Engelbrecht and Hans Kröpelin. He there- 
fore sailed with a large fleet and powerful army, com- 
posed of both Danes and Germans from Copenhagen, 
intending to punish the Swedes ; but at Bornholm he 
lost several vessels with their crews, on which he went 
on shore seeking more provision in Calmar Straits. It 
is said, that when he by force helped himself to some 
which belonged to the Convent in Wadstena, the people 
fancied when that same vessel soon after with its plun- 
dered property was wrecked at Skägganäs Point, it was 
a punishment from St. Brigitta herself. The King, who 
escaped with difficulty, got on board another vessel ; and 
finally after so many impediments reached Stockholm. 

As soon as Engelbrecht heard of Erik's arrival, he 
again summoned the people, and inclosed the town. 
The commandants of Almarestak and Osthammar 

VOL. I. • p 


burnt their Castles^ and sailed with their goods and 
people to Stockholm» where^ and on the neighbouring 
islands» they fortified themselves, so that there was the 
appearance of but small friendship between the King 
and his subjects. Nothing serious however took place; 
Erik feared the superior numbers of the Swedes» and 
many of the nobles who were now found in Ei^d* 
brecbf s army were jealous of his power» and feured 
that of the peasantry. A truce therefore was conduded 
for nearly a year, during which time a new meeting 
was to be held in Stockholm» when their differences 
were to be decided by a jury consisting of four lords 
of each country ; meanwhile the King's stewards were 
to remain quiet in their Castles, and during that time 
to gather no taxes from the people. After this the 
King returned to Denmark, and in Arboga, Engel- 
brecht was chosen for the Administrator of the king- 
dom during the truce. 

The appointed meeting took place at last in Stock- 
holm on the 8th of September, when a long list of 
heavy complaints was read to the King of all the in- 
justice the people» great and small^ had suffered during 
his reign. Erik however was not to be persuaded to 
punish his unjust servants» but sought continual ex- 
cuses, for he wanted to annihilate the freedom of the 
three countries, and afterwards leave them as an abso- 
lute monarchy, like one large estate to his &mily in in- 
heritance and possession. This being the case, it was 
no -wonder, if the peace concluded here was in every 
respect unstable and not to be depended on, and mai 
heads of complaint were referred to a new meetin 
The chief which lyere settled were, ** that the Kr 
might in Stockholm» Nyköping and Calmar» alo 
appoint commandants of his own choice. The re 


were to be Svedes^ and chosen by the Senate. The 
former enmity was to be forgotten and forgiven, and 
!EngellNrecht appointed to the command of Örebro 
Castle. Further a great Chancellor of Justice (Riks- 
drots) and a Biksmarshal were to be named to govern 
the kingdom during the King's absence; these two 
posts having remained unoccupied since the death of 
Queen Margaret.'* Christer Nilsson Wase was ap« 
pointed to the former, Carl Enutsson Bonde to the 
latter situation; but they were neither of them told 
what belonged to their office to do, or what assistance 
they should have in it ; and when Carl Enutsson con- 
sulted the Eing on the subject, he was answered in a 
passion: ^^Take care only that thou stretchest not 
thy feet further than thy covering reaches,'' and fur- 
ther information he did not receive. 

As soon as the Eing had got the Castles back again, 
according to the articles of the treaty, he began directly, 
contrary to his promises, to place foreign stewards in 
them. The Swedish Senators begged the Danish Senators 
to represent the case to the Eing, but in vain. They 
then went themselves to carry their complaints ; but he 
answered them harshly : "That he would by no means 
be their tool;" adding that "had they not lent their 
assistance, Engelbrecht could never have done him so 
much injury ;" thus seeking to tear up the former 
grievances which were to have been forgotten according 
to the agreement. After this he removed Hans Eropelin, 
who was loved and respected by all, from the command 
of die Castle of Stockholm, and replaced him by ano* 
ther Danish lord named Erik Nilsson Rönnow, and a 
strong garrison. He then sailed back . to Denmark, 
but appointed some other stewards on the way. At 
Stegeholm, for instance, he left his porter Olof Finne, 

p 2 


and at Stegeborg Johan Flemming who was a pirate, 
a thief and dishonoured, and of whom it is related that 
he plundered Churches, and maltreated women whom 
he afterwards hung up in smoke till they were suffo- 
cated. While the King entrusted the fortresses to 
such men as these, he permitted his people to plunder 
and plague the peasants who inhabited the little islands 
all along the Swedish coast. At last his usual followers, 
some violent storms came on and destroyed part of 
his fleet, so that he got back with difficulty to Den- 
mark again. Thus King Erik parted this time from 



The plundered peasants crowded to Engelbrecht in 
Örebro, relating to him the King's passage and their 
own distress, for they felt they had only him to whom 
they could look for help and protection. A Diet was 
immediately summoned in Arboga on the 20th of 
January 1439, when they wrote to the King, com- 
plaining ^* that he had broke his oath by giving away 
the Castles, and bestowing them rather on ruffians than 
on good knights ; and that he wanted to force Duke 
Bugislaf upon them, for whom he had desired the 
stewards to hold their Castles in readiness. They 
therefore begged the King for the sake of God's 
holy and cruel death to meet them before Lent 
Stockholm, and do them justice, when they would j 
count him as their King ; but should he not agree, 
need never more expect faith and obedience fire 
them.*' During this meeting, a secret message reachi 


Sngelbrecht from the citizens of Stockholm, asking 
his help as they now had reason to dread the same 
treachery and murder from the Danes as they had suf- 
ficed under King Albrecht from the Germans. On 
£ngelbrecht's representation, the whole assembly rode 
straight to Stockholm ; but the Danes perceiving at a 
distance their great numbers, drew up the drawbridge 
and would not admit them. Engelbrecht, Karl Knuts- 
son and, two other Lords then rode forward to the 
gates, holding up a hat on a long pole as a sign of 
peace. Two German Burgomasters came out, of whom 
Karl Knutsson asked, *^Why the gates were shut to 
them when others were permitted to pass out and in ?*' 
These Burgomasters now began negociating between 
the Lords and the Governor of the Castle, and went 
twice into the town and back again, while Engelbrecht 
and his friends were waiting without in a bitter frost 
and snow storm* But when the Burgomasters came 
out the third time bearing the Commandant's answer, 
that it was the King's order they should not be ad- 
mitted, the hat was knocked off the pole, and Karl 
Knutsson collared the one Burgomaster and Engel- 
brecht the other When the Danes saw this, they shut 
the gate definitively and hastened up to the tower, 
whence they poured their shot on the Swedes. The 
dtizens seeing this, and fearing to be shut up from all 
assistance and left in the power of the enemy, made a 
violent rush on the gate without heeding the shot of 
the Danes, and began breaking it down that they might 
admit the Swedes. Those again who heard the battle 
raging within, pressed on the gate from without, 
breaking, hewing and throwing great stones till it gave 
way at last, and the Swedes rushed in. The Danes 
then hastened from the tower to the citadel carrying 


with them all the catde and pfovisions they cotild lay 
hands on. The Swedish Lorda crowded to take possea- 
sion of the walls and its tow^rs^ While Earl Kmitsson 
set up his banner on the corn-market, causing proda- 
mation at the same time to be made, that ^^ whoever 
adhered to the national cause should hasten to that 
spot ; and that none were to venture to plunder the 
town or its inhabitants.^' After this he presented him* 
self on the balcony of the old Town-house, from which 
the Burgomasters and other authorities used to address 
the people, and asked the citizens, '* if they intended 
faithfully to hold by the kingdom and tile Swedes f* to 
which he receiyed a general assent, and engaged after- 
Wards to besiege the Danes in the citadel ; but so much 
was Sir Hans Kröpelin, though a Dane by birth^ beloved 
by the Swedes for his gentleness and justice, that 
hearing he had during the first uproar sought refuge in 
the convent of Grey Brothers at lUddarholm, they sent 
him a message informing him, ^^ that he had nothing 
to fear from them, as no injury was intended to him.'' 

While the Danes who were shut up in tiieir Castle 
were attempting to fire the town^ and had burnt down 
Kropelin's house in their efforts, the citadel was 
surrounded by the troops of Karl Knutsson and Erik 
Puke, who were to maintain their blockade while £n- 
gelbrecht marched through the country to recover the 
fortresses. The night i^r these arrangements had 
been effected, Karl Knutsson caused his men to dig 
a ditch on his side of the Castle> and throw up a 
rampart, behind which they could stand sheltered from 
the shot of the enemy. These tried a sally, but were 
received with such firmness that they were obliged to 
hasten back within the walls, and dared not again 
venture an attack. The Biksmarshal had much as- 


»stance from the servants^ all stoat and hearty men, 
whom the Archbishop, who was highly enraged against 
the King, had sent him. Erik Puke on his side tried 
to throw up a similar rampart ; but the citizens went 
slowly to work. It therefore happened, *that when the 
Swedes on Candlemas-Eve were sitting in Iheir festi- 
val dresses at table, and entertaining themselves to the 
best of their ability, the Danes seized the opportunity 
of breaking out of the fortress, crossing Erik Puke's 
poor defences, and rushing some into the houses where 
they murdered the inhabitants, others to the slaughter- 
houses which having set on fire, they again drew back 
into the Castle. They had chosen their time during 
a very severe storm, when the wind was blowing on the 
town, and there was great danger that the fire would 
seize the other houses, and thus that all Stockholm 
would be consumed, the more so, as by their shot and 
every other means in their power, they sought to pre- 
vent the Swedes from extinguishing the flames. Luck- 
ily for the town, the wind suddenly changed which 
counteracted the hopes of the enemy ; but this danger 
terrified the people so much, that after this time Erik 
Puke's ramparts were both firmer built and better 

At the news of this misfortune, Engelbrecht hastened 
back frona Nyköping to Stockholm, and the choice of 
an Administrator was immediately taken into conside- 
ration, that they might have a guide in the troubles 
which now threatened. Thirty voters were then chosen, 
consisting of Bishops and Nobles, whose votes fell thus: 
Karl Knutsson had twenty-five voices; Engelbrecht, 
three; and Erik Puke, two; by which means the Lords 
betrayed the envy and fear they bore towards Engel- 
brecht and the people ; for though Karl Knutsson was a 


rich, nobly descended, active, eloquent, brave, and 
handsome man, he was only twenty years old, and 
his services could in no wise be compared with those 
which Engelbrecht had rendered the kingdom. Erik 
Puke was also highly indignant at the choice ; neither 
did Engelbrecht himself conceal his displeasure. Both 
vowed in wrath that ^^it should go otherwise/^ and the 
peasants and burghers promised their faithful assis^ 
ance. The Lords then in alarm made a reconciliation; 
on the condition that Karl Knutsson should have the 
highest authority in Stockholm, and Engelbrecht with 
the army. 

After this arrangement, Engelbrecht proceeded to re- 
gain the Castles ; and this time, as on the former occa- 
sion, his success was speedy ; for within three months 
the greater number of them were taken, and the 
remaining few blockaded. He conducted the war not 
only with much order and discipline, but also with 
great despatch and discretion ; where he saw he could 
not gain a thing by force, he did not consider money, 
but used it freely to induce the commandants to surren- 
der their fortresses, thus sparing both time and lives. 
He was likewise very fortunate in his undertakings, and 
got possession of Grimshus by surprise. When he 
came to Halmstad, he requested an interview with 
Tyke Hjort, a Dane, and Burgomaster of the town. 
Engelbrecht required the fortress to be surrendered; 
but he boldly answered that ^^ as long as he stood on 
his feet, that should never happen/' On this they 
parted. But Tyke Hjort had hardly gone a few steps 
before he fell and broke his leg, and was carried by his 
servants into the Castie ; being now unable to stand on 
his feet, which he took as a proof that ^^God had 
pleased to assist the Swedes,^' he exhorted the citizens 


to surrender. Three days after Tyke died of this in- 
jury, and the townspeople were so disheartened by his 
misfortune, that they soon surrendered to Engelbrecht, 
-who by these means got possession of the strongest of 
all the fortresses. 

King Erik had no power to offer any resistance. 
Thinking of nothing but the elevation of his family, he 
tried by every means to get the Danes to elect Duke 
Bngislaf as his successor or co-regent ; but without suc- 
cess. Erik, wearied of his restless reign, quietly made 
liis escape from the kingdom and the war, and returned 
to Pomerania ; but some Danish Senators followed him, 
and succeeded in persuading him to return with them 


bkgblbbbcbt's death. 

The last Castle which Engelbrecht besieged during 
his journey through the southern part of Sweden was 
that of Axewalla in West Gothland; but he there fell 
so ill that it was with difficulty he could be transported 
to his own Casde of Örebro. Sir Bengt Stenson Natt och 
Dag of Göksholm, who had had a dispute with Engel* 
brecht, now demanded a safe conduct to Örebro, there 
to arrange their difficulties. This Engelbrecht granted ; 
and it was then agreed between them that the following 
Easter their affidrs should be decided by the Senate, 
each meanwhile promising that neither himself, his 
children, or any belonging to his house, should in any 
way injure the other. Engelbrecht then led Sir Bengt 
as his guest into the Castle where he was hospitably 
entertained, and they parted on the best terms. 

p 3 


Engelbrecht had meanwhile received instnietioiiB to 
join the Senate in Stockholm as they had an important 
point to discuss. Being still yery weak after his ill- 
ness; and unable to ride^ yet anxious to obey the call, 
he determined to go by sea, although he was so reduced 
that it was requisite to lift him off and on the horse 
which carried him from Örebro Castle to the banks of 
the Hjelmar. Here two boats were lying waiting, into 
which he, his wife, children, and some servants watered, 
intending to pursue their way to Stockholm. 

The first six miles beyond Örebro, die Hjdoiar is 
but a narrow and insignificant piece of water, consist- 
ing of two small arms, the last of which is closed by 
the Björksund. This sound is caused by a great 
peninsula on which Göksholm lies, and beyond this 
sound the Hjelmar expands into a large and considera- 
ble lake called Storfjerden. It was already late on the 
evening of the 3rd of May 1436, when Engelbrecht 
came to Björksund, and as he did not choose to cross 
the Storfjerden in the dark, he determined to pass the 
night on a little island to the right of the Straits. His 
men warned him of his former enemy, Bengt Svenson 
of Oöksholm, who was in the neighbourhood ; but he 
depended fully on the reconciliation they had so lately 
made at Örebro. They therefore went on shore, struck 
a tent, and lighted a little fire to warm themselves. 
They soon saw a fully-^armed boat coming from Göks- 
holm with Sir Måns, the before mentioned Bengt 
Svenson's son, in it. Then Engelbrecht said : *• Now 
you will see that Sir Bengt is well-inclined to me, an ' 
sends to invite me to Göksholm ; but I cannot go c 
account of my great sickness.^' He then sent his se^ 
vants to show them a good landing place ; but as sooi 
as the boat approached the strand, Måns Bengtsso: 


leapt out vnth an axe in his hand, and hurrying to 
where Engelbrecht was standing leaning on his sticky 
asked him in an angry voice, ^^ Shall we never get peace 
for you, in Sweden !" Engelbrecht sick and weak as he 
was, replied with difficulty: "Thy father and I have 
made friends; I hope he has told thee of it/^ But 
Måns Bengtsson would listen to nothing, and gave 
Engelbrecht a blow with his axe. He held up his 
crutch as a defence, but the blow fell on the hand 
itself, and cut off three fingers. Then Engelbrecht 
turned to go away ; but Måns Bengtsson gave him the 
second blow on the neck, and the third deep in the 
head, so that Engelbrecht fell dead to the ground. 
Not content with this, Måns Bengtsson had the dead 
body shot through with many arrows; and not till he 
had thus wrecked his vengeance did he return to 
Göksholm, carrying with him Engelbrecht's wife and 
children prisoners. 

To gain the utmost advantage of this assassination, 
Måns Bengtsson intended to have possessed himself of 
Örebro Castle in the following manner. He took one 
of Engelbrecht's servants, Aibrecht Peccatel, and a 
body of armed men with him, and riding with all speed 
to Örebro arrived while it was still night. They went up 
to the Castle, and Albrecht Peccatel was made to cry 
for insl^nt admission, on pretence of a very important 
errand from Engelbrecht; but the Captain of the guard 
answered, that Albrecht might remain there till dawn, 
for the Casäe gates should not be opened that night. 
As there was no persuading him to alter his mind, 
Måns Bengtsson plundered the town of all that Engel- 
brecht and his men possessed in it, and then made the 
best of their way back to Göksholm ; but as they feared 
the vengeance of the people, Måns Bengtsson and his 


&ther made their escape to Ringstaholm, after haying 
first set Engelbrecht's widow and children free. 

The news of this murder soon spread through the 
neighbourhood, and the peasantry crowded in madness 
to Göksholm to revenge themselves on the murderer; 
but he had already escaped^ and his servants defended 
his lofty tower, so that the peasants seeing they could 
do nothing against it, burnt and destroyed everything 
in the neighbourhood. Meanwhile Engelbrecht's body 
lay yet on the island. The peasants hastened thither, 
and with many hot tears took up the mangled corpse of 
their beloved leader, carried it to Mellösa Church, and 
buried there with sighs and tears, him who had been 
their only help and support when they were all op- 
pressed. Afterwards seeking a suitable place for his 
interment, they removed his body to Örebro where it 
was put in the vaults of the Cathedral ; and so firm was 
the faith in his innocence and honour, that the monks 
pretended that miracles were performed at his grave as 
if he were a saint. 

Karl Sjiutsson, by the death of Engelbrecht, was 
fireed from a dangerous rival in supreme power, and 
seemed therefore not to disapprove of Måns Bengts* 
son's deed, even publishing an ordination throughout 
the kingdom that none should venture to attack or 
even to blame him for this matter. But he did not 
remain unpunished. He soon felt the bitterest remorse 
for his crime, and in his despair would have killed him- 
self had he not been prevented. As he had su£fered 
himself to be seduced by the Danes to this action, h'^ 
and his son bore them an immeasurable hatred, nev< 
enduring to hear them mentioned. But all his repent 
ance could not serve to obliterate his crime ; the pec 
pie looked on Måns Bengtsson with inveterate suspi 


cion^ and thought in the misfortunes and mishaps 
which afterwards overtook his family, that they read 
the vengeance of Heaven for the innocent blood he had 
shed. It is related that the ghost of Måns Bengtsson's 
mother^ who^ through avarice, it is said incited her son 
to the crime^ is at night occasionally heard to sigh and 
lament in the closed vaults under Ooksholm's old 
towers. The island is called Engelbrecht's Holm to 
this day ; and the old people show the stunted grass 
burnt by the sun in the sand, saying that no green 
thing can thrive on the cursed earth which drunk the 
innocent blood of Engelbrecht Engelbrechtsson. 






After Engelbrechfs death, Karl Knutsson was the 
most mighty man in all the kingdom of Sweden. He 
was descended of families of the first consideration, his 
fiither Riksdrots Knut Bonde, and his mother Marga- 
ret Sparre, daughter of the powerful Karl Ulfson of 
Tofta, being both descendants of the old Jedward 
Bonde. From his parents he not only inherited high 
birth and great riches, but had even received what in 
that day was considered a very careful education, so 
that he had more learning than the other nobles^ and 
could even speak Latin, which only some bishops^ and 
a very few of the clergy could do. He was of a strong, 
and very tall figure, and had besides a manly and noble 
appearance. He was of a gay and friendly character, 
mild and engaging in his manners, and master af his 
language in speaking to the people; which advantage 
was increased by his voice being so powerful that it 
was heard above the murmur of many hundred men. 
Thus formed by nature and fortune, he had extraordi- 
nary success, and was not more than twenty-seven, 
when in 1435 he was named Riksmarshal, and the fol- 
pie lo^^S y®*^ Administrator. 

t to these great advantages, Karl added the fault of 


loving pomp and pleasure too much ; ^nd then his chief 
ambition was to set the crown on his head, to which he 
occasionally sacrificed the good of the country and the 
claims of justice. He partly kept to himself, partly 
distributed amongst his relations the chief posts in the 
Government. In Stockholm, he kept a large and bril- 
liant house : whoever pleased was welcome to his table ; 
and as by his great revenues he both could and did 
pay his servants better than others, the great mass who 
seek meat and money hastened to his service, and he 
thus collected a powerful body of such friends and de- 
pendants. The other Lords envied his power in secret : 
however, they did not dare to betray themselves for 
they considered him as a defence against Engelbrecht's 
party and the peasants whose increasing consideration 
they most feared. 



Ever since the election of an Administrator in 1436, 
in which the choice had fallen on Karl, Erik Puke had 
entertained a great aversion to him, which increased on 
the death of Engelbrecht when he would have desired 
to have been chief himself. Before that event, Erik 
Puke and eight of his men had made a solemn vow 
that they would murder the Marshal whenever they had 
an opportunity; and attempted several times, though 
Karl had always fortunately escaped. Once when the 
Senate was assembled in the Convent of the Black 
Brothers in Stockholm, and Erik Puke came also with 
his confederates intending to accomplish the murder, 
he addressed the Marshal roughly, saying: ^*Karl 


Knutsson keep your beagles at home» otherwise I will 
strike them across the nose. They entice my servants 
firom me;'' meaning that Karl's servants with promise 
of higher wages invdgled his. The Marshal answered 
with much moderation, ^that if Pake had any com- 
plaint against his people to prefer, the men should be 
made to answer for it before the Conndl, and that were 
they found guilty they should neyer again eat of bis 
bread.'' But Erik answered in wrath, << We shall never 
part in peace, but we and our men must meet on the 
field, and he who then gets the upper hand shall rale 
over the other/' Karl Knutsson replied : ^ That they 
should by no means depend on their servants, but could 
settle it between themselves; and for his part he was 
ready whenever the matter they had then in hand'^ (the 
siege of the Citadel of Stockholm) ^^ was brought to a 
termination ; but he would not do it before, unless com- 
pelled.^' Then Puke leapt up, and hturied out widi bis 
servants ; but one of these caught him by the skirts at 
the door, sayings ^' Think, Sir Erik, of what brought us 
here ! ^ Erik answered, ** The time is not yet come ! ** 
to which the servant replied, ^^ As you please, but while 
you tarry he will strike.'* After this, a reconciliation 
was effected ; but this did not prevent Erik, when he 
was sent out by Karl on affiiirs of state, exciting the 
peasantry everyivhere against him whom he painted in 
tiie blackest colours. 

Some time after Karl having to go from Stockhohoi 
to Nyköping, Erik Puke who was in possession of 
Södertelje intending to fall upon him, wanted to per- 
suade him to travel by the high road to Telje. When 
Karl excused himself on the plea of his horses being 
out at grass. Puke offered him both his horses and 
fervants; but the other excused himself from this com- 


pany, and set out with some attendants in a couple of 
boats across the Malar to Telje where the boats were 
carried over into Saltsjö^ and he proceeded on his way 
to Nyköping; all this being done with such despatch^ 
that Erik had no time to arrange his plan before Karl 
was happily beyond his reach. 

But on his return, Erik hoping to make more sure of 
him, blocked Härstäke Sound; so that he, not being able 
to get through, would be obliged to take the road by Telje. 
However Karl received information of this treacherous 
intention of Puke's, and therefore did not go to Telje; 
and when he reached Härstäke found it not so im- 
passable but that he not only discovered a way through 
it for his boats, but a broad open passage by which he 
rowed on well satisfied to Stockholm. 

Failing in this attempt, Puke followed him to the capi- 
tal^ where he and Karl Knutsson mutually visited each 
other, and showed fair countenances and much friend- 
ship ; but it happened once that Karl Kiiutsson at a 
great feast at Erik Puke's, asking him, " Why he had 
shut up Härstäke Sound ?" Puke, who was drunk by 
that time, answered boldly : " There is not between this 
and Calmar any pike for which so many hooks are laid 
out as I have laid for thee, though I have not succeeded 
yet/^ Karl Knutsson pretended to pay no attention to 
this, and turned off the conversation to other subjects. 
He seemed not to fear Erik Puke much. 

Meanwhile a meeting was held at Calmar in which 
the Union was renewed, and it was determined that 
King Erik should come to a meeting in Söderköping, 
where all complaints should be taken into consideration, 
and the fleet be put under the command of Swedish 
men. Erik accordingly left Gothland with a considera- 
ble fleet, but scarcely were they well out at sea when a 

330 HisrroRT of sweden- 

Tioleot storm CÉme on, and as it was in the mid& of 
the nighty die ships dashed against and sunk each 
other. A great number of them were lost, others were 
cast, some on the Söderköping Skares, others on Oland, 
and in the Straits of Calmar. The King himself was 
driven back to Gothland, where he had hardly landed 
on the Karl Islands before the ship on board which he 
had been sank before his eyes. 

The Swedish Lords were meanwhile waiting for him 
in Söderköping ; but when a general rumour spread that 
he had gone down in the storm, the Marshal sum- 
moned the foreign stewards, according to the agreement, 
to give up the Castles. Having no power of resistance, 
they resigned them to him, who kept the greater part 
in his own hands, or bestowed them upon his relatives. 
Some he also gave to Erik Puke, against the advice of 
the other Senators, in the hope of propitiating his 
good wilL 

Some of the Lords were highly displeased at having 
had no share in these distributions, particularly one 
called Broder Svensson who had distinguished himself 
at sea, and been besides one of Engelbrecht's most de- 
voted partizans. He collected his friends and servants 
without the town, and having made them a violent 
speech regarding the injustice and avarice of the Mar- 
shal, afterwards rode to Söderköping, where he, in the 
presence of many, attacked him with heavy comphdnti 
and threatooing words; but the Marshal had Broder 
Svensson immediately arrested and beheaded the fol- 
lowing day, thus bringing this disturbance to a sum- 
mary conclusion. 

Erik Puke continued his machinations against the 
Marshal, notwithstanding the assistance he had re- 
ceived from him at the Diet of Söderköping. He once 


demanded that they might have an interview with only 
a few men on either side; but Karl having, heard that 
£rik had posted an ambush of one hundred men on 
the way^ excused himself from this meetii^. In spite 
of this^ he imagined he could stall gain Erik's good-will, 
and gave him the whole of Helsingeland as a fief; 
which did not however prevent him, on a journey in 
Westmanland, from finding all the peasants eitcited to 
fury against him by Erik's representations. Finally 
when he arrived at Köping, and had already gone to 
bed, bis butler came in and told him that Puke had 
stirred up the people of Rekarne to rebellion ; and that 
he was with his troops only twelve miles firom Köping, 
where he intended to surprise Karl that night. But 
Karl thought he had more secure information, and not 
fearing Erik at all, laid himself quietly to sleep. The 
following day, on his way to Arboga, he met two 
heralds, who delivered to him Puke's open letter of 
enmity, which ran thus : 

" Know this, Karl, that if thou, or any other man 
wants aught with me, I am to be found in Arboga, and 
Ood have mercy upon my soul ; but I shall not lie idle 
at home, for I never know when I may be burnt, 
roasted, or slain. Know that until the day when it 
shall be better between us than it now is, where I find 
thee, or any one belonging to thee, I will act towards 
him as becomes me towards my worst enemy. God's 
holy blood knows well that I had thought to leave this 
undone; and thou shalt further know that the day 
which was fixed between Bengt Stensson and me I re- 
nounce, for I will not hold my enemies so cheap as I 
hitherto have done. Scriptum Arbogee, sub meo sigillo." 

When the Marshal had read this letter, he got off his 
horse, fell on his knees, and prayed God to judge be- 


tween them, and to revenge him on Puke who so ill- 
rewarded his benefits. After that, he held counsel with 
his friends, on which some were sent to Örebro to fur- 
nish the Castles with provisions. He rode himself to 
Westeras, caQed the burghers together and asked of 
them supplies wherewith to victual the fortress. This 
they flatJy refused, saying that Puke and the peasants 
would then bum their town. "That you need not 
fear," said the Riksmarshal, " for I shall do it myself." 
On which he ordered his men to arm^ and entering the 
town set fire to every street. The burghers then sub- 
mitted, the Castle was well-provisioned, and Karl rode 
the same night to Stockholm, where he made prepara- 
tions for the expected insurrection. He spoke from 
the balcony of the Town-house to the citizens and re- 
ceived their promise of assistance. The Archbishop 
and other nobles also sent him many stout hands, so 
that in eight days he was ready to march against Puke. 
When Erik Puke on his side heard that Karl had 
escaped from Köpings he took great courage and col- 
lected the peasants at Arboga river which was frozen. 
He then made these simple people believe all manner of 
untruths regarding ICarl, saying that when the peasants 
came to him he used to bind, beat, and flay them, cut 
their mouths from ear to ear, tie them to palings, and 
let them freeze to death ; and finally exhorted them 
'^to accompany him to the Mora Stones, and there 
choose a peasant's son for their Eling and crown ; but 
as for himself, he would by no means become Kin^:," 
he said. The peasants believed him, and promi 
obedience. He held the same speeches to the inh^ 
tants of Nerke, engaging to make of the Casti 
Convent to the memory of Engelbrecht. These 
lingly followed the friend of their beloved leader, \ 


promised assistance. He permitted them to plunder 
one of Karl's farms which was in their town ; and there 
the peasants enjoyed some merry days, killings roasting^ 
and eating as much as they were able ; but when Erik 
summoned the Castle to surrender^ they would not 
listen, and receiving the information that they had just 
been reinforced and were well victualled, contrary to 
what he had been led to believe, he told the peasants 
that he must go to Westerås to protect the country 
from the Marshal's incursions, but would leave some of 
his troops behind to head them. They complained bit- 
terly of this abandonment^ and implored him to stay ; 
but he hastened away> and no sooner was he gone than 
the garrison of Örebro, sallying out^ made sad havoc 
among the peasants, who, forgetting both their wallets 
and arms, fled to hide themselves in forests and 
morasses, and found that their entertainment at Karl's 
expense in the end cost them too dear. 

Puke meanwhile had collected and inveigled the 
Westmanlanders with whom he began to besiege Wes- 
terås Castle. He summoned it to surrender ; but the 
Governor, Bengt Gunnarsson answered he could neither 
treat nor make peace with the traitor Erik Puke, but 
he would share the peasants' wallets with them. In 
the evening, accordingly Bengt made a sally and chased 
the peasants from their supper, when so great a number 
was killed that Erik Puke with all his troop was obliged 
to keep watch before the Castle thew hole night, and suf- 
fered much from the severe cold, for it was now winter. 
The following day, 16th December, mass being ended, 
the garrison made another sally on the unprepared 
peasantry, when the confusion was worse than before. 
The Marshal's servants drove hordes of these unfortu- 
nates whpm they had taken prisoners into the Castle, 


and caused several cart>loads of their provision wallets 
to be also carried there, while they were rushing about 
in disorder. In this way, the soldiers proceeded for an 
hour in the town, before Erik Puke got his men col- 
lected to whom the peasants joined themselves. When 
the garrison saw this, they retired into the Castle in 
good order, and Erik Puke, who perceived that he could 
win nothing here, immediately proceeded to Dalarna, 
abandoning the peasants, who hurried every one back 
to his home complaining and lamenting at having been 
deceived and inveigled into this enterprise. 

The Marshal now arrived with his forces from 
Stockholm, and passed through Westmanland, Re- 
karne and Nerke during the winter, summoning the 
peasants who submitted and were pardoned on paying 
fines, except four of their chiefs who were executed. 
But as he received a letter from the Dalmea professing 
their intention of assisting Erik Puke, he further 
summoned the Uplanders and East Gothlanders to 
meet him the twentieth day after Christmas at Wes- 
terås; Erik and the Dalmen had encamped at Halle 
Forest, a little further northward, and cut a trench 
round them. Here Karl and Erik at last came to a 
meeting, and the latter promised to be faithful to the 
Marshal, and bring the Dalmen to a reconciliation with 
him on the following day at Haraker Church. On the 
following day, accordingly, the Marshal, the Archbishop 
and several others in their company proceeded to Ha- 
raker, where they had to sit in snow and storm all day 
long, and not a peasant was to be seen. Puke arrived 
in the evening and said, that he had no power with the 
peasants ', he however promised to meet the Marshal on 
Hofdista meadow near Westerås. But here the 
Marshal again waited in vain, md was in thi3 way yet 


a third time deceived. He was then highly indignant, 
and being informed that it was but a treacherous 
arrangement of Puke and the Dalmen who were 
waiting reinforcements from the Helsingars and Ges- 
trickers, he rode with his whole troop immediately up 
to Skultuna Church. He reminded the Dalmen of 
how they had before promised faith and homage; and 
asked if they now intended to fight against him. They 
all exclaimed, '^ no V^ submitted, and promised that Puke 
should deceive them no more. The Marshal then 
granted them pardon, and ordered them to return 
home ; but he himself rode on to Westeras, where he 
invited Puke to follow promising him safe conduct, 
Erikas friends warned him, but he said he could fully 
depend on the word of so great a man, and went ; but 
when at their meeting he spoke angrily and impru- 
dently, and expressed his wrath and bitterness in 
explicit terms, the Marshal caused him to be seized, 
and directly contrary to the safe conduct he had 
granted him, sent him to the High Chancellor Krister 
Nilsson Wase in Stockholm, who had him beheaded 
without delay. Such was the end of Erik Puke's 
ambition; and many wondered that Karl Knutsson had 
not done this long before, when he had such sufficient 
reason rather than on this occasion break his plighted 



JÖ8SE Erikson had got a warrant from the Marshal 
for his personal safety, forbidding any to dare to 
pharge him with his former cruelties ; aft^r which hq 


established himself in Wadstena. The neighbouring 
peasants who thought that during Erikas war with Pake 
they could do what they pleased, broke into the cell, 
sought for their old enemy, and dragged him down the 
stairs^ his head beating against every step ; after which 
they bound him on a sledge, and carried him off to 
Motala Ting. There they gathered in a circle round 
him, and adjudged him to death on account of all the 
cruelty he had practised in Dalarna, whereon he was 
beheaded forthwith. Karl Knutsson, indignant that 
the peasants should have broken his safe conduct, 
condemned them to heavy fines for what they had 



The Lord Chancellor, Krister Nilsson Wase of 
Bjömö entertained feelings of secret envy at the great 
power and consideration of the Marshal ; but did not 
venture to show them openly. One meeting after the 
other was now held with the Danish deputies of King 
Erik, partly regarding the renewal of the Union, partly 
regarding the King's return to Sweden. Though Erik 
had often broken the promises he had made at these 
meetings, and conducted himself ill and imprudently, 
Krister Nilsson desired to have him back in the 
country again to diminish KarFs authority. Karl on 
his side wished to have Erik deposed that he m:' 't 
himself be King. Thus they both sought their < i 
advantage, and neither that of the nation. Howe ', 
outwardly they had the appearance of the warn t 
friendship; the Riksdrots who was old^ called I 1 


his son ; Karl called him father in return, and pretended 
to listen with reverence to his fatherly counsel, though 
he knew it to be false. For instance, when the Werm- 
landers and Dalmen had broken into insurrection, he 
advised Karl "to treat with them, and not to go to 
them himself, otherwise they would never endure him 
again." Krister did this to strengthen the uproar 
which he was secretly fomenting, in hopes of getting 
Dalarna and Westerås as a fief for himself and his son. 
But the Marshal despatched Arwid Swan with one 
hundred and twenty men to Wermland, where he in 
Jössehärad cut down a number of peasants, and soon 
brought the country to order. The Dalmen again 
summoned a meeting with Karl at Enköping, on 
which occasions the Chancellor always warned^ his 
^' dear son,*' against going out to meet the peasants ; 
but Karl Knutsson still presented himself boldly in 
their assembly, and none of them had any complaint 
to prefer against him and his servants, but confessed 
their crime, promising fines for it now, and obedience 
in future. 

Karl had once intrusted Krister with his seal to place 
at the end of some letters going abroad ; but Krister 
used it on a letter appointing Helsingeland to himself, 
and this without the MarshaFs consent. He engaged 
with several of the Bishops and Senators to deprive 
Karl of the Government, but found it an undertaking 
beyond his power, when instead of being deposed, Karl 
was chosen Administrator to the great discomfiture 
of the old man, who was now obliged to acknowledge 
him as his superior. He therefore entered into secret 
plots to effect the return of King Erik, which coming 
to KarFs ears, he was determined to put a stop to these 
annoyances. He allowed Klas Lang, one of his ser- 

VOL. I. Q 


vants, to choose forty of his ablest-bodied men with 
whom he rode to Räfwelstad, Krister Nilsson^s estate, 
where he so fully executed his commission that more 
than a hundred of Krister's attendants were surprised 
and made prisoners in the hall in the evenings and he 
himself was dragged out of his bed, thrown half-dressed 
into a sledge and conveyed away to Westerås, after 
which he was obliged to leave all his possessions ia 
Sweden, and content himself with Wiborg Castle in 

Thus Karl Knutsson mastered this enemy also; 
treachery was punished by treachery, and if the con- 
science of any one were wounded by actions of the 
kind, the rich were able with large sums to buy the 
Pope's pardon, and live after obtaining it as they 



Nils Stensson Nattoch Dag, uncle of Engd- 
brecht's murderer Måns Bengtsson, was married to 
KarPs sister ; but notwithstanding this ^ near relation- 
ship could not see his great power without bitter envy. 
With his two brothers Bo and Bengt, he had already 
taken part in Krister Nilsson's plots, but they had 
made a show of reconciliation, and given their oath of 
fealty; scarcely however was the Marshal out of East 
Gothland before Nils suffered his servants to so r 
the country, ill-treating Karl's dependants where r 
they were to be found, and plundering and robbing i 
peasants, priests, and churches. Enraged by this c • 
duct, Karl then pursued the offender^ drove him ) 


seek refuge in Stegeborg, where he left Erengisle to 
conduct the siege^ warning him to put no faith in Nils. 
Notwithstanding this admonition. Nils succeeded, when 
he began to run short of provisions^ in persuading 
Erengisle to agree to a truce upon pretence of seeking 
a reconciliation with EarL He promised with many 
an oath, and eight of his men gave bail for him, that 
he would not quit the Castle during the truce ; but 
scarcely had the besiegers withdrawn before he rode 
with twenty men out of Stegeborg and through Små- 
land, till they found a ship which they forcibly seized^ 
and on which they crossed to King Erik in Gothland^ 
leaving Karl in wrath with his servants who had so 
suffered themselves to be taken in. 

King Erik received Nils Stensson well, thinking by 
his assistance to regain the kingdom; he gave him 
two hundred courtiers,* plenty of supplies, money and 
provisions, appointing him Marshal, and addressing 
letters to the principal authorities of the kingdom, 
commanding all to obey Sir Nils Stensson. Thus 
provided he returned to East Gothland, permitting his 
men in their passage through the country to bum and 
ravage everywhere ; and carrying besides, to the great 
indignation of the Swedes, the Danish banner Danne- 
brog before them. But Karl and his followers soon 
entered East Gothland, when Nils Stensson escaped to 
Gothland, and his plundering followers hastened to 
hide themselves in Stegeborg Castle, which Karl block- 
aded on every side. He lived himself during this 
siege on an island which is yet called E^arlsholm after 

* The followers of any great Lord were at that time called thus. 
They were to be well-armed riders, well-practised in fighting and 
fencing, and entirely devoted to, and obedient to their masters' 

Q 2 


him. The people in the Castle observing that he often 
passed between his encampments along a height which 
was within shot of the Castle^ Rodenborg, the gun- 
master ^' swore by his life and honour, that if ever he 
passed that way again, he would cause it to be the last 
time ;" and therefore turned fourteen guns, which 
were first introduced into Sweden at this time^ towards 
the height, and had them loaded with stones instead 
of ball, according to the custom of the times. They 
presently saw Karl advancing, for he was easily recog- 
nised by his gigantic height, and majestic walk. Ro- 
denborg fired the first cannon ; but it rebounded off its 
carriage, and the stone passed twenty fathoms over the 
head of the intended victim ; he fired the second, but 
it burst, and the stone fell as much too short ; he fired 
the third, but with no better success. Rodenborg now 
woidd try no more, for he felt himself sick, and said, 
" It was God^s punishment for his evil intentions 
against the Marshal,*' who thus fortunately escaped so 
great a danger ; and the siege was continued with such 
resolution that the besieged were obliged to capitulate. 
The brothers Nattoch Dag again made submission to 
Karl, and once more swore him fealty ; but he soon 
heard that Nils was returned from Gothland, and 
scouring East Gothland with sixty retainers, com- 
mitting every manner of depredation. Karl again sent 
out his men, who found these ruffians on a plain be- 
tween Norr and Söderköping, beat them entirely, and 
took Nils Bengtsson prisoner. He was carried imme- 
diately to Söderköping, where he soon died of a con*^» 
gious illness ; but Karl caused a strict inquiry to 
held among his servants, of whom nine were beheac 
and impaled. 

Måns Gren, the steward of Borkholm Castle on I 


island of Öland, immediately on this commenced an 
insurrection to assist Erik against Karl ; but the latter 
made a speedy descent on the island, forcing him to 
surrender his Castle, and take the oath of faith and 
loyalty to himself. 



In this manner every attempt failed to help Erik 
again to the Swedish crown, and the numerous negocia- 
lions which were held for the same purpose were fol- 
lowed by equal failure of success from Erik's want of 
sense and honesty, however much the faithful and honest 
Hans Kröpelin laboured for him. He had long before 
lost all respect in Denmark. It once happened that 
the powerful and illustrious Olof Tott met the King's 
mistress, damsel Cecilia, riding in a gay and gallant 
carriage, or Karm as it was then called, and Herr Olof 
not knowing her, took off his hat and saluted her 
respectfully as if she had been a lady of quality. His 
servants began to smile at this ; and when Olof Tott 
learnt whom he had saluted, he overturned her carriage 
in his wrath, drew damsel Cecilia out of it, and giving 
her three blows with the side of his sword, told her to 
carry his compliments to King Erik and say, that ^' She 
should part him and Denmark.'' The want of morals 
went to such a length that Dorothea, another of the 
King's mistresses, bore openly in her seal the words : 
" Dorothea, King Erik's concubine." 

At length, when Erik had entirely wearied out the 
Danes by his obstinacy in insisting against their will in 
bequeathing the crown to Bugislaf of Pomerania, he set 


off for Gothland, canying the treasures of the Mngdom, 
and his dear Cecilia with him. He gave as a reason 
for this departure, that he was to treat with the Swedes; 
but he never returned. The offended Danes speedily 
sent after him, refusing him further faith and obe- 
dience, and at the same elected his sister's son^ Duke 
Christopher of Bavaria, for their King. When Erik 
refused to agree to the conditions which the Swedes 
proposed, they also refused him further fealty (1439). 
Erik made no particular efforts to regain his kingdoms, 
but lived a long life of indolence and dishonour on the 
island of Gothland, supporting himself chiefly by 
taking and plundering Swedish and Danish ships in 
the Baltic. 

Duke Christopher of Bavaria wrote in 1438 to the 
Swedish Senate proposing himself as their King; but 
Karl had at that time influence sufficient to prevent the 
accomplishment of his wish. He seemed both to him- 
self and others not unworthy of bearing the crown on 
his own head. By his activity he had quieted all the 
internal disorders of the kingdom, and freed it from 
foreign domination. Many wonderAil reports were 
spread about him. The old gun-master Rodenboig in 
his long and severe illness, it was said, could not die 
till he had got Karl's forgiveness. A little girl once 
during sermon imagined that she saw a gold crown on 
KarFs head, and pointed it out to many ; and a man of 
eighty foretold him that he was certain of one day 
becoming King. 

But on the other hand his enemies were numero 
and various. The peasants hated him for havmg, 
they thought, overlooked, if not connived at Eng< 
brecht's murder. The priests whose interest it was i 
uphold the Calmar-Union, saw in Karl their onl 


impediment. The nobles envied his power, and could 
not endure the thought of his becoming their King and 
Governor. Many hated the violent, and often treache- 
rous manner in which he made an end of his enemies ; 
besides those that have been already mentioned, he is 
said to have poisoned Archbishop Olof with almond milk, 
because of his adherence to King Erik. Many again 
were attached to the Calmar-Union for its own sake, 
imagining the larger a kingdom, the happier its inhabi- 
tants must be ; and the Lords desired its maintenance, 
that they, as the chief men in the country, might govern 
it during the absence of the Sovereign. 

AU KarPs efforts failed before these reasons. During 
two years he succeeded in excluding Christopher and 
governing the kingdom himself as Administrator , but 
finally he was obliged to give way before the obstinate 
desire of the Lords to have Christopher for their King, 
and Christopher's own management, who by his Am- 
bassadors promised the Swedes, and Karl Knutsson in 
particular every manner of good. Christopher flattered 
him in every possible way, and agreed immediately to 
' KarPs request of getting Finland and Öland as a fief, 
and also that no account might be called for firom him 
of the years in which he had held the reins of Govern- 
ment. On these conditions, and after he had given 
his royal word, Christopher was named King of Sweden 
in 1441. 



Christopher now came to Stockholm, into which 
he made a magnificent entry, walking beside Karl 


Knutsson. He was handsome, even beautifnl in faoe^ 
but his figure was short and insignificant, and disfigured 
besides by too much embonpoint. The people also who 
looked on, said among themselves that the Marshal 
was handsomer than the King, and more fit to bear a 
crown ; which when Christopher heard afterwards, he 
begged Karl jokingly, '^ Not to walk so near him, for 
the people said Karl should be King, and Christopher 
his servant/' He, however, showed him all outward 
signs of the greatest firiendship, and stood as godfather 
to one of his daughters. But as the Marshal saw 
clearly that the King in reality did not wish him well, 
he took his departure for his new command in Åbo. 
The King then made his Eriksgata, and everywhere 
listened with the greatest complaisance to any com- 
plaint against Karl Knutsson. He summoned him to 
Stockholm to answer these accusations, and thus broke 
the promise he had made on his election. Karl, how- 
ever, presented himself; but only on the King's solemn 
warrant of security, which he, however, made still more 
certain by coming accompanied by five hundred well- 
armed men. However, Christopher contrived, by his 
cxmning, to bring Karl into embarrassment, and he was 
obliged to give up Åbo, and content himself with 
Wiborg. Karl hastened back again, fearing some 
further treachery ; but was permitted to remain several 
years in quiet in a sort of exile in the same Wiborg 
Castle where he had himself in the days of his power 
banished his rival, the old Sir Krister Nilsson Wase. 

Christopher thought he had now considerably 
duced Karl Knutsson's power, whose great conside • 
tion he always stood in dread of; but he was una ) 
himself to win the love of his subjects ; for with all i 
wit and gaiety, he was not a wise and just, but a cm • 


ning and artful man. To gain money and sow the seeds 
of discord between the Swedish Lords, he would without 
their knowledge sell one command to several amongst 
them at the same time ; but the consequence was that 
he gained the enmity of them all. In the beginnings he 
wished to patronize and provide for his Bavarians ; but 
when the Danes and Swedes made serious representa- 
tions regarding this, they were sent back again out of 
the country. General indignation was excited when 
the people complained to Christopher of Erik's piracies 
in Gothland, by the King's answering carelessly ^*That 
bis uncle surely wanted something for his support 
when he was settled on such a barren rock as Goth- 
land/' At length, however, when Erik's robberies 
became unbearable, Christopher crossed over there 
with some armed vessels ; but after a private interview 
which both Kings had together, they came to a mutual 
understanding, and Christopher sailed away leaving 
Erik to continue his pillaging as before. 

What however made Christopher's reign most odious 
was the hard seasons which followed each other. Un- 
der Karl Knutsson there had always been good years ; 
but under Christopher the harvest failed one year after 
the other, so that the people were obliged to eat bark 
bread, and in addition the plague broke out in the 
country. Notwithstanding this distress, the King used 
to travel about with a great suite, and the people were 
obliged every night to collect five cart loads of corn for 
his horses, while they themselves were eating bark. 
They therefore nicknamed him Christopher Bark-king, 
and ascribed as usual the famine to the King's sinful- 
ness, for he lived an evil life, giving an example of 
gambling, drinking, and every vice, though his young 

Q 3 


Qaeen, but fifteen years old, was the greatest beauty in 
the North. 

In other respects King Christopher was of a gay and 
good-natured disposition^ and showed some sense in 
his government, though it was often disfigured by arti- 
fice and want of faith. The chief efibrts of his reign 
were to shake off the yoke the Hanseatic towns had 
laid on the North, and to diminish their power; but he . 
died suddenly in the midst of these preparations in 
Helsingborg on the 6th of January, 1448, leaving no 

All that is more to be noted regarding him is, that in 
his reign in 1442, the Code called Medel-lag, which 
had been compiled in Magnus Smek's time, was at last 
accepted as the general law of the kingdom. 



When Christopher died, both the brothers Bengt 
and Nils Oxenstjema were named Administrators, and 
this family now rose to great power, as Herr Jöns Ox- 
enstjema the son of the former was elected Archbishop 
after Nicholas, who died of sorrow at Christopher's 
death, and at the distresses which he saw impending 
over his country. Nevertheless the Oxenstjemas had 
not enough authority to make any one of themselves 
King, but wished instead to uphold the Union of Cal- 
mar in which they were supported by the Wasas. Oi 
the pther hand, the families of Bonde and Bjeike hek 
with Karl Knutsson, who now hastened over from Fin- 
land with eight hundred knights. Rumours of man] 
prophecies and revelations pointing him out as the des- 


tined sovereign, flew before him throughout the land. 
The spring had been uncommonly dry, so that the 
whole country feared a complete failure of the crops ; 
but the same day that Karl landed in Stockholm, the 
23rd of May, plentiful and refreshing rain fell on the 
parched earth, and the people who in this recognized 
his former good fortune, and thought they saw the ma- 
nifestation of God^s peculiar pleasure in him, became 
the more devoted to his interests. Vain were the at- 
tempts of the Oxenstjemas to get one of their own 
family elected : vain their efforts to delay the election 
and renew the Union of Calmar. In vain, finally, did 
Jöns Bengtsson absent himself, thinking that no one 
would venture on an election without the Archbishop. 
Seventy Lords assembled; Karl Knutsson and 'both 
the Oxenstjernas were proposed ; but when the votes 
were collected, it was found that they both had got but 
eight, while Karl had sixty-two for his share. The 
people then shouted that they would have no other 
King, and so they entered the church where the Te 
Deum Urndflrnvs was sung; the Archbishop returned 
and effected a reconciliation with Karl, who now with 
his Queen was crowned at Upsala with much pomp 
and magnificence, and entirely at his own expense, so 
that he was not obliged to load the peasants with any 
new tax.* 

As soon as Karl had become King, his first business 

* 'This King is called Charles the Eighth, though properly he 
should have been called Charles the Second ; authentic history 
knowing but one Charles before him, viz. Karl Swerkersson. But 
several hundred years ago^ a false chronology was made out ac^ 
cording to which he was styled Charles the Eighth ; and when its 
incorrectness was discovered^ the old names Charles VIII, IX, 
and so on were retained as people were accustomed to them. 


was to put an end to Erik's piracies. He therefore 
sent a fleet to Gothland, and succeeded so well that in 
a short time the whole island and the town of Wisby 
were in the hands of the Swedes, and King Erik found 
himself shut up in great distress in Wisboj^. Charles, 
as we shall now call him, even sent messengers into 
Norway to effect a separation of that country from 
Denmark, and with such success that in 1449, he was 
crowned King of Norway in Trondheim; and thus 
fortune seemed to fitvour him in the commencement of 
his reign. 



But this success was not of long duration. The 
envy of the nobles, the power of the clergy, the want 
of sense of the people, and the machinations of the 
Danes, all combined to plunge the kingdom into misery. 
Måns Gren got a reinforcement from Denmark, where 
meanwhile Christian of Oldenburg had been elected 
King. The Swedes were then obliged to leave the 
island almost without resistance, and the traitorous 
Måns Gren swore a secret oath of fealty to Christian, 
and promised to help him into the kingdom. At this 
juncture. King Erik abandoned Gothland, after having 
lived there ten years from 1439, and crossed over to 
Pomerania where he Hved other ten years with little 
honour or credit. 

A meeting was convened with the Danes in Hain 
stad, the 5 th of February, 1450, and twelve Swedis 
Lords were appointed to be present, among whom wei 
Nils Jönsson Oxenstjerna and Måns Gren, of whos< 


treason Charles was yet unaware. They now deter- 
mined with the Danes that the Calmar-Union should 
be upheld ; and that whichever of the two sovereigns 
survived the other should govern both kingdoms. The 
dispute regarding Gothland was to be settled in a new 
meeting, and Charles was to resign the crown of Nor- 
"way. Would he not agree to these conditions, the whole 
twelve were to give themselves up prisoners to the 

This was precisely against Charles^ directions, who 
had commanded them in what regarded Gothland and 
Norway not to give in a point. As they afterwards 
feared his anger, and wanted besides to increase their 
own power, the greater part of them entered into a 
secret compact to force him to relinquish his right of 
placing and displacing Governors of provinces ; and in 
case he did not agree to this, they engaged to oflFer the 
crown to Christian on the same conditions. Archbishop 
Jöns Bengtsson and Bishop Sigge of Strengnas were 
chief actors in this treason ; but old Bishop Magnus of 
Abo, who was ninety-three, was in a great strait 
whether to break his oath of loyalty to Charles, or his 
oath of silence to the conspirators. At last the old 
man went to Charles, and revealed to him these in- 
trigues. Charles was obliged to agree to resign Nor- 
way, however much it grieved him to do so ; but he did 
not dare to break the Treaty of Halmstad, as the nobles 
who had promised to go into captivity would infallibly 
with their powerful houses have raised a rebellion all 
over the country. The right of placing Governors he 
would not resign, but on the contrary deprived the 
Archbishop, Bishop Sigge, Måns Gren, and Nils Jöns- 
son of their fiefs as a punishment for their infidelity. 
Måns Gren then commenced piracies on the Baltic, but 


was taken by the Liibeckers, who beheaded one of his 
people ; but permitted himself to be ransomed by King 
Christian, who made him the Captain of his troops. 

In addition to other misfortunes, the plague again 
made its appearance, and with such violence that in 
Stockholm alone nine thousand persons died. Amongst 
these was Queen Catharine, a heavy affliction for 
Charles, for not only was she very beautiful and lovely, 
but also of a mild and lively disposition; and had often by 
her gaiety dissipated the gloomy cares which hung over 
the mind of the King. Their union had ever been the 
happiest; no one could recall ever having seen the 
slightest displeasure between them. She left nine 
children, the greater number of whom died in their 
childhood, and none of them ever became very famous. 
As Christian was this time unable to gain anything 
by his plots, he permitted his people to make plimder- 
ing incursions into Sweden, which Charles retaliated by 
marching a great army into Skåne in the winter of 
1452, ravaging and destroying the whole province. He 
left in spring, and divided his army, of which the one 
half under his brother-in-law Gustaf Karlsson sub- 
dued Bleking ; the other under Ture Turesson Bjelke 
and Eggert Kromedik lay idle in Halland, because 
these leaders were secretly inclined to Christian. 
Ture had both a Danish mother and Danish wife, and 
JSggert was descended of a Danish family, and related 
besides to Charles* enemies the Wasas. 

The following spring, the King equipped a great fleet 
intending to invade Denmark; but as he was on tj 
point of sailing, he learnt that Christian had fallen c 
the Swedish coast with a powerful army among 
whom was a body of German mercenaries, and a nun 
ber of foreign Princes. These troops had spread then 


selves over Småland and West Gothland and com- 
menced besieging the Castles, when Charles abandoning 
his former design turned his arms against them. But 
it must be remarked that Lady Brita Tott, wife of Sir 
Erengisle Nilsson, Governor of örebo Castle^ and one of 
Charles' most faithful friends was of a Danish family. 
She therefore sent secret information to her country- 
men of all his undertakings, so that he found them 
everywhere well prepared to receive him. Thus Chris- 
tian had been enabled, on Charles' arrival in West Goth- 
land, to retire into the fortified Lödöse, against which 
he could effect nothing. Hearing that the Danish fleet 
under Måns Gren had attacked Stockholm, and been 
repelled with great loss, Charles hastened to make the 
overthrow complete ; but Lady Brita had sent notice to 
her countrymen who were thus able to retire in time 
with their fleet. Charles then summoned the Senate; 
but the Archbishop and Bishop Sigge, who had re- 
gained their Castles the year before, on their renewed 
oath of loyalty^ broke it now and answered that they 
would never come to him, on which they made their 
fortifications still more secure, and wrote to Christian 
inviting him to Upland where they promised him their 
assistance. Such was the fidelity Charles received from 
them, on which soon followed the news of the West 
Gothlanders with their Bishop having paid homage to 
Christian, which was done at the secret instigations of 
Ture Bjelke, who did not choose himself openly to 
break with Charles. 

Charles seeing himself surrounded by traitors on 
every side, now scarcely knew whom to trust; however 
fortune favoured him yet once more. Christian was on 
the road from Jönköping by Holweden to East Goth- 
land, when bis troops fell into an ambush in the forest 

352 HisnroRT of Sweden. 

in which Sir Erik Nipertahad concealed a body of East 
Gothlanders* These roshed out on the advancing 
Danes, IdUed two hundred of them, took several of the 
King's Council prisoners, and drove the rest wounded 
and terrified back out of the wood. 

Both Germans and Danes now began to complain of 
this troublesome warfiure. Dysentery and the plague 
ravaged their camps, so that Christian was at last 
obliged to retire, and the Germans swore in their 
broken language: ^/n Sweden kame wy nimmer meerr 
**To Sweden come we never again.^' And thus was 
Charles freed firom his danger. 



LÖDÖSE however was still in the possession of the 
Danes, and the whole of West Gothland was wavering 
in its faith towards Charles, who at this conjuncture 
appointed Sir Tord Bonde, Captain of his Forces. He 
was his first cousin, and though young had made 
himself already known as a courageous, wise, and ex- 
perienced warrior. 

It was a dark, rainy, and stormy night, when at the 
head of Charles^ men, Sir Tord Bonde rode with haste 
towards Lödöse ; little cared he for storm or rain, but 
arrived before morning, and the Danes expecting no 
attack, he had Uttle difficulty in taking all within its 
walls prisoners ; after which he let his servants reg 
themselves with the enemies' meat and wine, that tl 
might make up for their wet night^s journey. Th 
Tord Bonde found a bag of letters, among which w 
a number from Brita Tott and Ture Bjelke, regard! 


their own, the Archbishop's and Bishop Sigge's plots 
against King Charles. These letters he despatched 
immediately to the King ; but determined at the same 
time to try if he could surprise Ture Bjelke. He 
therefore set out with thirty men for Axewalla Castle 
which Ture Bjeike held, who not knowing that his 
treachery was discovered, admitted Herr Tord and his 
servants without hesitation; the latter however had 
received orders to enter in parties of only four or five 
together, that they might not excite the suspicion of 
their enemies. At night as they sat at table, and just 

. as the cabbage was carried in, Tord Bonde seized Ture 
by the collar and held him fast. His men leapt up to 
defend their master ; but Tordas men prevented them 
with sword and fist, and the matter ended by Ture and 
all his men being taken prisoners, and Tord getting the 
Castle into his power. Ture was then obUged to promise 

.to keep himself quiet in Wamhem Monastery, and his 
servants at Skara till the King's pleasure regarding 
them was known. 

He meanwhile having received the letters we have 

, mentioned, summoned the Senate to assemble in Stock- 
holm, and laid these papers before them. Such how- 
ever was the power of the nobility and the envy they 
bore to Charles, that he was obUged to pardon these 
traitors and dared not punish them though he had 
such certain proofs of their evil actions and intentions. 
He went to West Gothland ; but on the news of his 
approach, Ture and his servants made their escape, 
contrary to their oath to Eggert Kromedik at 
Rumlaborg, whence both these felons fled to Denmark. 
Tord Bonde meanwhile continued manfully to defend 

.the kingdom against the attacks of Christian who 
broke into the country several times with his troops. 


but was everywhere so valiantly received by Herr Tord, 
who was now commandant in West Gothland, that he 
was obliged at last, with great loss and having accom- 
plished nothing, to evacuate Sweden. During this 
retreat, he built a fortress in Småland which he called 
Danaborg, and where he left a Danish garrison ; but 
Tord Bonde followed immediately with his men and 
armed peasantry, the fortress was taken by stormy and 
the Danes there suffered such a defeat, Äat the pea- 
sants ever after called it the Castle Danasorg, instead 
of Danaborg.* 

Another time Kolbjörn Gast, one of Christian's gene- 
rals, marched with three thousand men to drive Tord 
Bonde, who had founded several fortresses there, out of 
Norway. He had not at that time more than four 
hundred men with him ; but determined neverthele» 
to venture to exchange blows with Herr Kolbjörn. He 
therefore concealed a himdred of his men in a clump 
of forest trees, and with the remaining three hundred 
attacked the Norwegian forces, who had fortified them- 
selves behind a fence of carriages. When Herr Tord 
perceived that he could not break through their defence, 
he and his men turned, pretending to fly. The Normen 
abandoned their fortress in pursuit ; but when he ha4 
thus enticed them to some distance, he turned and 
made such a hard attack, that they could scarcely stand 
their ground, and a sharp conflict ensued. Herr Tord 
dealt many a hard blow round him, and two horses 
were killed under him, when the hundred men rushed 
from their concealment. They were so ill-armed ths 
they had no iron on their lances ; but they rode not th 
less courageously against the enemy, and sounded 
charge on three basoons which they had amongst them 
* Borg, castle^ Sorg, sorrow. 


At this the Norwegians were quite confused and 
frightened ; they cried that ** all the might of Sweden 
was in arms against them/' and dispersed on every 
side. Even Kolbjörn Gast, their leader, fled to a 
mountain; but Herr Tord followed hard after, and 
seized both the leader and his men. He often em- 
ployed similar stratagems ; his watchfulness, wisdom, 
and bravery kept off the attacks of tlie Danes, and 
caused them much annoyance. Neither did Charles' 
secret and envious enemies dare to undertake anj^hing 
against him while he had such a defender. Thus his 
cousin proved the King's chief help and support. 

But this brave and faithful hero fell at last by a 
traitor's hand, as his enemies did not dare in open 
fight to face him. One of his officers, Jösse Bosson 
by name, though a Dane by birth, had gained his con- 
fidence to such a degree, that he had made him Gover- 
nor of Karlborg, a Castle in Bohuslän, and there was 
not one amongst all his warriors whom he trusted so 
much as this Jösse. It happened once during these 
disturbances in Norway, that Tord came to Karlborg 
with the intention of passing the night there. Jösse 
received him joyfully, and begged him to take the 
repose he so much needed, promising himself to keep 
the strictest watch in the Castle during the time. He 
said the same to the servants, and as they were weary, 
they thanked him for his offer and went to bed. Jösse 
now got his boats ready, and loaded them with his 
most precious effects, after which he quietly turned the 
key on Tord's attendants, hid their swords, and cut 
their bowstrings, so many precautions did he think it 
requisite to take before he ventured to attack the 
heroic Tord Bonde. He then entered his room with 
an ax in his hand ; Tord raised himself a little in his 


bed, and asked what he wanted? Bat instead of an 
answer, he gave him a heavy blow with the axe^ so that 
he deft his head down to the shoulders ; after which 
he made his escape to the Danes, at whose instigation 
he is thought to have committed this felony. 



Meantime Charles began to be less and less beloved 
in the kingdom. With the intention of wearying the 
Swedes, Christian often used the stratagem of collecting 
a number of men on the frontiers, pretending to intend 
an invasion; thus the Swedes were summoned to 
defence, and obliged to march from every side of the 
kingdom, but when they arrived, there was no danger 
in question, and they had only to march home again. 
This enraged and wearied both the men who were 
summoned, and the peasants who were to lodge and 
feed them during their march, and they pronounced 
Charles' government to be oppressive and bad. Neither 
were the priests inclined to favour him, since he 
in 1453, commenced instituting inquiries concerning 
their large and numerous estates, and reclaiming to 
the crown property which against the laws of Sweden 
had been bestowed upon Churches and Convents. 
These inquiries he was soon obliged to suspend on 
account of the resistance of the clergy ; but he had at 
least shown his mind towards them by his attempts, ai 
gained their hatred in return. The nobles were again 
him, because he reserved to himself and his dependai 
almost all the provinces and their revenues, while . 
excited their envy by uncommon pomp and splendov 


At one feast, for instance, he displayed fourteen hun- 
dred silver dishes, besides a countless number of 
other articles of gold and silver plate. Thus were the 
hearts of many of his subjects turned from him, and 
his old enemy Archbishop Jöns Bengtsson and his 
relations only awaited a suitable opportunity of letting 
the rooted hatred they bore him burst into action. 
But Charles relied on his great wealth, on his courtiers 
of whom he had two thousand, an uncommon number 
for that time, and in addition on the Castles which were 
all in his possession. However he soon came to expe- 
rience how weak is the Government unsupported by the 
faith and love of its subjects. 

When the Danes no longer needed to fear the dan- 
gerous Tord Bonde, they, under Måns Gren, took pos- 
session of Oland and Borkholm, and besieged Calmar. 
Charles hastened against them, and gave the Archbishop 
the commission to collect more soldiers in Upland, and 
sent them to him. Four times had Jöns Bengtsson 
forfeited his allegiance, and as often received pardon on 
his solemn vows and promises of better faith in future ; 
but now he believed the hour was come for the over- 
throw of his detested enemy. He therefore gathered 
his dependants and servants, nailed up to the door of 
Upsala Cathedral a letter in which he renounced all 
loyalty and obedience to the King, then entered the 
Church, took oflF his archiepiscopal robes before the 
shrine of Saint Erik, and vowed that he would not 
again wear that dress until law and right were restored 
to the land. After this he clad himself in armour, put 
a helmet on his head, girded his sword on his side, took 
the officers of Charles prisoners, and plundered their 
houses. He afterwards marched towards Westerås, 
where he ordered the Dalmen to meet him. When. 


Charles heard of these disorders, he harried with a 
small troop northwards, hoping to surprise the Arch- 
bishop in Westerås ; but he was too active to permit 
this, and Charles was himself surprised at Strengnäs. 
His people attacked when but half awake ; and before 
they had been able to get into order were soon beaten 
and dispersed ; and he, wounded as he was^ with diffi- 
culty escaped on an old miserable horse accompanied 
by a single servant to Stockholm. He immediately 
caused both suburbs to be burnt, that he might the 
better resist a siege. The Archbishop soon arrived on 
his traces, and commenced his preparations for be- 
sieging the town ; but as Charles did not think himself 
strong enough to resist, and also could not put much 
dependance in the citizens, he determined to quit the 
country. He caused a part of his money and treasures 
to be concealed in the convent of the Black Friars, and 
the rest were carried on board a ship sailing for Dant- 
zig. As Charles was going on board himself, one of 
the Archbishop^s secret friends, asked him : '^ If he had 
forgotten anything?'' "Nothing,'* said Charles, "but 
to hang you and your comrades." Aflber this he en- 
tered the vessel, and set sail. He was very well received 
in Dantzig by the Hanseatic Towns, as by the King of 
Poland ; and published a manifesto against the Swedish 
Lords, offering to stand to trial with them before 
proper judges. But in Sweden, every one abandoned 
the unhappy King. The Archbishop took Stockholm 
in a few days, and two of Charles' daughters who were 
there, were without compassion put on board a little 
vessel, which in the midst of the cold and stormy winter 
was to carry them over to Pomerania, whence they 
were themselves forced to seek for their banished father 
in Dantzig. 




The Archbishop intended to call in King Christian ; 
but so great was the hatred entertained for foreign 
masters, that he was obliged to promise both peasants 
and burghers that he would appoint no foreign King to 
the country. The breach of a promise was but a trifle 
with Jöns Bengtsson, and so he and his partizans 
wrote privately to Christian, and begged him to hasten 
with his fleet to Stockholm. Christian arrived, and the 
people knew nothing of the matter until he was in- 
troduced into the capital by the Archbishop and his 
party, and crowned in Upsala the 29th of July, 1457. 
Shortly after his son John received homage as his suc- 
cessor. An action was commenced against Charles 
who was pronounced a traitor by his enemies, and for- 
feited all his possessions in Sweden ; and now Christian 
thought himself securely seated on the Swedish throne. 
This King reigned some years in peace and quiet, 
and he was neither a bad man, nor an unskilful Prince; 
but he was too weak to head the Government in such a 
stormy period, and committed many faults which 
dragged him at last from the throne. The promises to 
which he had sworn with the most sacred oaths at his 
coronation, he boldly broke ; and though this was too 
common in those hideous times, it nevertheless caused 
wrath and indignation, and gave his enemies room for 
open complaint. Meanwhile the Archbishop persuading 
him that the friends of Charles intended to recall him^ 
he caused them to be taken up and examined by torture. 
Being innocent and having nothing to reveal, he was 


obliged to set them at liberty : but neither they, nor 
their many relatives and friends ever forgave him, and 
became in consequence but the more devoted to 
Charles. Neither did it please the Swedes that the 
traitors. Sir Måns Gren, Sir Ture Bjelke, and many 
others who had borne arms against their country were 
now not only recalled, but honoured with the King's 
confidence, and the highest and most important offices 
in the State. What most irritated the people, however, 
against Christian was his avarice. He began to borrow 
from his subjects, sometimes larger, sometimes smaller 
sums ; but never repaid them. As soon as he heard 
of the treasures which Charles had concealed in the 
Dominican Convent, he had them carried off; and 
when some one put it into his head, that Charles had 
also hidden treasure in some other places, he broke up 
the walls of the Castle here and there, caused the bot- 
tom of the lake to be well searched round the fortifica- 
tions, and even had the great ball on the top of one of 
the towers of the Castle taken down and broken up in 
the hope of finding money concealed in it. At last he 
sent for a woman to Denmark, who was thought able 
by witchcraft to find concealed treasures ; and laid heavy 
and unjust taxes on the people, under all manner of pre- 
tences. These were paid the first and second time ; but 
when the third and heaviest tribute was imposed, the 
people positively refused, made a serious revolt, and 
declared they would pay no more taxes to such a 
miserly and insatiable King. The Archbishop, who 
was unable to get the peasants to pay, did not ventu 
to compel them, and promised instead to get the U 
entirely removed. At this proposal Christian was big 
ly displeased, the more so as he already feared bo 
the power and arrogance of the Archbishop. He ther< 


fore took him suddenly prisoner in the Castle of Stock- 
holm^ and carried him to Copenhagen where he was 
confined in 1463. A violent commotion now broke 
out. The peasants were highly irritated at the Arch- 
bishop having had this to suffer for his efforts to free 
them firom the unlawful imposition. Charles' former 
partisans began to lift up their heads, and the relations 
and family of the imprisoned Prelate burnt for revenge. 
Kettil Karlsson Wase, who was his first cousin, set 
himself at the head of the insurgents, who joined him 
from all sides so that he was able to besiege Stock- 
holm, and take many other Castles. When Christian 
heard this news, he marched with a great army to the 
capital, and the Swedes drew back into Dalarna. The 
Eäng followed ; but when he reached Halle Forest in 
Westmanland, Bishop Kettil, Sten Sture, and the 
whole Swedish force lay in ambush awaiting his arrival, 
and attacked him vigorously. The Danish army was 
beaten, and suffered so complete a defeat, that Chris- 
tian with its poor remains fled to Stockholm ; but not 
even venturing to stop there, set sail with his fleet for 
Denmark. The Swedes now imanimously resolved to 
recall Charles, and Ambassadors were sent to him to 
that effect to Dantzig. He sailed back to Stockholm, 
promised full pardon to his enemies, and thus in 1464 
was for the second time King of Sweden. 



When Charles returned to Stockholm, many of the 
chief Lords and nobles of Denmark who had been shut 
Aip in the Castle were obliged to surrender themselves 

VOL. I. B 


as prisoners^ and give up at the same time several good 
ships which lay in the harbour. But soon afiber, Charles 
with his usual confidence^ trusting to their fair words 
and promises of ^' never more fighting against him and 
Sweden, and certainly concluding a firm and lasting 
peace between him and King Christian/^ permitted 
them, without further security, to return with their ships 
to Denmark. When Bishop Kettil, on his reaching 
Stockholm after an expedition against the Danes, 
heard what had happened, he was wrathful in the 
highest degree against Charles^ and said to him with- 
out reserve, **That it was for their own misfortune 
that they had brought him back, for he caused them 
now both shame and mischief. The Bishop and his 
friends, and not Charles had conquered the Danes, and 
therefore he had no right to deliver the prisoners with- 
out their consent." Bishop Kettil was even so bold as 
to repossess himself by force of the Danish vesseb 
which had not got beyond the Skares, and thus new 
enmity broke out between the King and the Lords. 

The Bishop wrote immediately to Christian, saying, 
that ^^ If the Archbishop regained his liberty, Cl^ristiaa 
should be again King of Sweden." Christian, who saw 
that single-handed he should not be able to conquer 
Charles, made a speedy reconciliation with the Arch- 
bishop, and sent him with an army to Sweden. All 
his former partisans fell in an instant from Charles; his 
general, Bo Dyre, a brother of Tord Bonde, was de- 
ceived by the Archbishop into a truce, and then trea- 
cherously attacked by him and completely defeate^ 
Charles himself was shut up in Stockholm by the Arc. 
bishop with Bishop Kettil and the greater number 
the Senators. He attempted a sally over the ice I 
the Riddarholm ; but was driven back with great los 


The Dalmen came marching down to relieve him^ bat 
Bishop Kettil advanced to meet them^ and persuaded 
them to turn back again. Abandoned and betrayed 
on every side^ Charles was finally obliged to resign the 
crown, and content himself with Raseborg Castle in 
Finland as a fief. He therefore crossed to Åbo in 
1465, where he was long obliged to remain in the 
Dominican Convent before he could be put in posses- 
sion of the above-mentioned Castle; and then had so 
little of his former riches remaining, that he was un- 
able to pay a debt of fifty marks which he owed in 
Stockholm ; and it is said that he then composed the 
following doggerel on himself: 

While I was Lord of Fof^elwich» 

I was a mighty man and rich. 

But since I'm King of Swedish ground^ 

A poorer man was never found. 



Archbishop Jöns Bengtsson and Bishop Kettil 
Wasé were now the most powerful men in the whole 
kingdom. The Archbishop called himself *^ Sweden's 
Prince/' and Bishop Kettil "Administrator of the 
kingdom.** It is believed that the Archbishop's party 
intended to divide Sweden into four quarters, and 
place four of their chief leaders in them as Kings ; 
but despairing of this^ they continued to uphold Chris- 
tian. They were obliged, however, to carry on their 
projects with the greatest secrecy, for the peasants and 
citizens, and many amongst the nobles and clergy were 
so irritated against the Danes that they could not en- 

R 2 


dure even to hear Christian's name mentioned* Mean- 
while the Archbishop desired to govern the country 
according to his own will ; but met with more opposi- 
tion in this than he had imagined. The nobles at a 
Diet, chose Erik Axelson Tott as Administrator^ and 
that directly contrary to the Archbishop's will. The 
peasants were discontented with his governing the 
country, and said that ^' Sweden had of old been a 
Icingdom and not a parish ;*' and even the Chapter of 
Upsala wrote to him^ ^^ To attend to his Bishopric and 
not meddle with worldly Government/' But his rest- 
less, ambitious spirit left him no repose, and so irri- 
tated the people against him that they began once 
more to speak of King Charles. Nils Sture of Pen- 
ningeby, not a powerful, but a very bold and brave 
man, was the first who set himself openly to act against 
the Archbishop in favour of Charles. His party ac- 
quired still more weight by the powerful Iwar Axels- 
son Tott becoming Christian's enemy, and marrying 
one of Charles' daughters, by which means this Iwar 
and his equally powerful brother, the Administrator, de- 
voted themselves to Charles and abandoned Christian, 
whose most zealous friends they had formerly been. 

In this manner there were in fact three parties in the 
country : viz. the Archbishop with his friends the 
Oxenstjemas and Wasas ; the Totts with their partisans ; 
and finally both Nils and Sten Sture who openly sided 
with Charles. The condition of the coimtry was fright- 
ful; armed bodies of the different partisans poured 
through the land in every direction, pursuing eai^ 
other, and pillaging the peasantry and the unprotecte 
There was neither security, order, nor Government 
be found which could procure justice for the innoceni 
all was internal envy is^nd bitterness. One noble stroi 


with another, murdered his servants, and plundered his 
dependants. The very peasants had different parties* 
The Uplanders, particularly from Fjerdhundra helped 
the Archbishop ; the Dalmen and Gestrikers sided with 
the Totts ; others again with the Stures, and this con- 
tinued to be the state of things nearly two years. At 
last the Totts and Stures gradually approximated, and 
determined to recall Charles, whom the peasants who 
were by this time wearied out by these quarrels of their 
masters began eagerly to desire. The Archbishop's 
party on the other hand daily decreased ; his zealous 
and brave assistant Bishop Kettil had died in 1466, 
and the Bishop's brother, the equally brave and bold 
leader, Erik Karlsson Wase, who had long sustained 
the Archbishop's cause in Sweden, was at last obliged 
to give way before the Stures and Dalmen. The Arch- 
bishop found himself insecure in Upland, and therefore 
crossed to Öland to be so much the nearer Denmark. 
At the same time Charles returned from Finland, and 
was received the third time as King. It seemed as if 
tiie ambitious Prelate could not endure this victory of 
his hated rival, for he died a few weeks after in Öland, 
in anger, poverty, and banishment, wept by none, 
hated by the most, and dreaded by all. Christian lost 
in him his last support, and Charles thought he felt the 
crown sit firmer on his head now that his bitterest and 
most formidable adversary was no more. 

It now seemed as if Charles would keep his kingdom 
in peace ; but many struggles yet awaited him. Though 
Erik Wase had forsaken Christian and sworn fealty and 
obedience to Charles, he broke his oath, and instigated 
a new insurrection, not in Christian's favour but his 
own. He soon collected a number of peasants from 
Fjerdhundra, and marched with them to Upsala. 


Charles sent Bo Dyre against him with an army, but 
Bo suflPered himself again to be deceived into a truoe^ 
daring which he was treacherously attacked and beaten 
by Erik. Sten Store now arrived with three hundred 
men at arms, and twenty thousand peasants from Sö- 
dermanland, Dalarna, and Roslagen; but Herr Erik 
Wasa had thirty thousand peasants and eight hundred 
men at arms. When the armies met, a violent mutiny 
broke out against Sten Sture, his men shouting, ^^Down 
with him ! *^ so that he, with the troops who remained 
faithful to him, was obliged to seek safety in Dalarna. 
The rest dispersed, and the Södermanlanders promised 
Erik " never more to bear arms for Karl Knutsson.^' 

Charles had meanwhile collected an army in Ros- 
lagen ; but this was attacked at Knutby and altogether 
routed by Erik Wasa. This gave him great courage, 
and he wrote to his ^^ dear wife" begging her " to re- 
joice and be glad for all were falling at his feet. Ay, 
and he even hoped that his dear wife should wear the 
crown of Sweden, if not this year, at least before 
another had elapsed." But a struggle yet remained be- 
fore him. He heard that Nils and Sten Sture had col- 
lected troops in Dalarna for the assistance of Charles ; 
he marched therefore in that direction with an army of 
more than thirty thousand men, and his troops were so 
certain of victory that they had a number of empty 
sledges with them on which they intended to drive off 
the spoil they hoped to take from the Dalmen. Thus 
Erik advanced through Hedemora till within twelve 
miles of Falun, where Sten Sture met him with fi^ 
hundred men, and set up the banner of the Valley 
Erik Karlsson made several violent attacks on it, b 
Herr Sten had chosen his place so well, and defendc 
it so valiantly with his Dalmen, that Erik Wasa an 


his people were at last obliged to retire with great loss. 
Shortly after Nils Sture arrived with the host of the 
Dalmen, and a battle ensued at Upphöga Ferry, in 
which Erik met with a complete defeat, and his army 
was cut to pieces or dispersed in such panic that un- 
armed women took many of the flying soldiers pri- 
soners. Erik himself dared not stop before he had 
reached Denmark ; and so vanished the crown which he 
had so proudly promised to put on his wife's head. 

Christian, who meanwhile had been hindered by 
other causes from drawing any advantage from these 
disturbances, now invaded West Gothland and laid 
siege to öresten. Charles sent his chief support, the 
young Knight Herr Sten Sture to its defence. He 
fought manfully with the Danes, and though their King 
was himself a brave man, and his people defended 
themselves well, they were at last obliged to give in, 
and Christian severely wounded was obliged to fly to 
Denmark, after which Nils and Sten Sture drove the 
enemy out of the country. 

Charles was thus at last firmly seated on his throne ; 
his internal enemies were partly dead, partly overcome ; 
his foreign enemies defeated ; his people wearied of con- 
tinual warfare sighed for peace, and finally the brave 
Totts and Stures stood the secure props of his power. 
But this unfortunate monarch was not long permitted 
to enjoy this quiet. He fell seriously ill in May 1470, 
and feeling the approach of death, named Sten Sture 
Administrator of the kingdom, and entrusted him with 
the Castle of Stockholm, at the same time warning him 
never to strive for the royal dignity : " That ambition,'* 
sud the dying King, ^^ has ruined my happiness and 
cost me my life.'^ 

Thus did Charles VIII^ at the age of sixty-two, finish 


a life, the commencement of which had been so splen- 
did, but whose continuation became so full of the bit- 
terest afflictions and reverses. It is difficult to say if 
the lenient and too easy confidence which he showed 
traitors and enemies were the effects of artifice thought 
necessary at the lime, or if they were caused by gene- 
rosity of disposition, and proceeded from a firm con- 
fidence in the protection of the Almighty of which he 
so often spoke. It is however certain that this conduct, 
joined to the hatred of the brave, obstinate, artful, and 
faithless Archbishop were the chief origin of Charles' 
many misfortunes. 






The old Stures were descended of a very noble race, 
long since extinct. Bom of this family, and nearly re- 
lated to the Wasas and Bondes, Sten Sture already 
enjoyed a consideration which was increased by his 
own virtues. He was brave, bold and experienced in 
war ; skilful, wise, and prudent in the Government of 
the state ; just, upright, and persevering in all his un<^ 
dertakings. Well knowing how easily the envy of the 
other nobles could be excited, he took great care after 
he became Administrator not to irritate them by out- 
ward pomp or unseasonable domination. He did not 
even strike coin in his own name, though he had long 
been Regent ; but where his authority was really con^ 
cerned, all were made to perceive that he was not a man 
to be trifled with. Of remarkable truthfulness himself, 
*^ I promise by my three water-lilies,*' (the arms of the 
Stures) was his oath, and it was more to be relied on 
than the most solemn engagements of Kings and 

After the death of Charles VIII, great disunion 
again broke out in the land ; the Danish partisans, Erik 
Karlsson Wasa, Iwar Månson Gren, Trötte Karlsson, 
and several others objecting that Karl Knutsson not 

R 3 


having been really King himself had no right to dispose 
of the kingdom refused to recognize Sir Sten as Ad- 
ministrator, and kept themselves fast to King Christian, 
in whose favour they sought to excite the people. This 
however suceeded but iU^ for the peasants had always 
hated the Danes and been devoted to the Stures, and 
they were now the more irritated against Christian 
because he had cut off their supplies of herring and 
salt, and they bitterly felt the want of these necessary 
articles. The citizens of Stockholm and the Dalmen 
were faithful to Sture, and exhorted each other to stand 
by him. Their loyalty would have been but of little 
avail had the all-powerful nobility and the clergy been 
his enemies ; but he had the advantage of having the 
newly elected Archbishop Jacob Ulfsson örnefot on 
his side, the brave Nils Sture whom the peasants loved, 
and the two brothers Erik and Iwar Axelsson Tott, 
who were as powerfid by their riches as by their large 
fiefs. By these means Sture gradually gained the upper 
hand. After many bloody battles in Upland, Erik and 
Trötte Karisson, and the rest of Christian's friends were 
driven out of the country, and several useless meetings 
having been held, a general Diet was convened and 
held at Arboga, where Sten Sture, on the 1st of May, 
1471 9 was accepted, and received the homage of all as 
the Administrator and Captain General of the country. 
It is said that a waggon load of German ale was sent 
from Stockholm to Arboga to animate the peasants, 
who were before devoted to him, which succeeded in 
making them so noisy in their acclamations that the 
envious Lords dared not venture a word against his 




When Christian saw that his party in Sweden was' 
insufficient to help him without assistance, he equipped 
a great fleet and sailed with it to Stockholm, where he 
anchored off the island now called Skeppsholm. There 
he commenced negociations with the Swedish Senate, 
promising ^' to make up for his former faults, pay his 
debts, govern the kingdom according to the form they 
should themselves prescribe, and in every respect be 
to them a mild and merciful father.^^ Many were for 
Christian, but the greater part were against him ; how- 
ever a truce was concluded and the negociations con- 
tinued. The Danes were permitted to buy their 
provisions in the town, and Christian on his side sold 
salt to the Swedes of which there was a great dearth. 
Meanwhile Christian made no progress with his treaty, 
and perceived at last that it was the intention of the 
Swedes to spin out the time till his provisions were 
consumed, and winter would destroy his fleet. After 
seven weeks' vain expectation, he at last determined to 
try the success of war, and landed on the 1st of Sep- 
tember with all the army on the Norrmalm, on which 
at that time scarce a house was built except the Convent 
of St. Clair. He pitched his camp on Brunkeberg, 
and raised bulwarks and earthern ramparts towards the 
town, from which his cannon continually disturbed the 
town's people. His fleet lay at Blasieholm, and he 
threw a strong bridge over Näckström, a sound now 
closed, that he might maintain communication between 
his fleet and his camp. Thus Christian seemed well 
prepared for the siege of Stockholm, and at the same 


time sent Erik Karlsson Wasa, Trötte Karlsson and 
several other of his Swedish adherents into Upland to 
procure him assistance from the peasants^ entidng 
them with the promise of finding cheap salt in his 
camp. Many of them who came to the Danish camp 
to buy were detained, and the Swedish Lords succeeded 
in collecting some bodies of Uplanders to Christian's 
aid, but they were not very nmnerous, neither did he 
imagine that he stood much in need of their assistance. 
His great army consisted of the principal Danish nobles 
and their troops, of brave, stout and experienced Scot- 
tish and German soldiers of fortune who daily exer- 
cised themselves in warlike sports, and led a merry and 
unconcerned life in camp. Christian in his pride 
promised to ^' build and dwell in Stockholm ;'' and 
when he was told that Sture was marching through the 
country collecting the peasantry against him, he said : 
^' Herr Sten sneaks along ditches and dykes^ but I 
shall punish my little gentleman with the rod like a child, 
and teach him to keep himself quiet.'" Tlie foreign 
soldiers also broke into fierce threats against the citi< 
zens, thus irritating them the more to hatred and 

When Christian began to besiege Stockholm, the 
Administrator marched south, and drove away the 
enemies who were forcing the frontiers. Witii the 
West Gothlanders he defeated a large body of Danes 
at Herljunga, after which the West Gothlanders them- 
selves took Elfsborg, and razed Axewalla Castie to the 
ground. He then crossed through East Gothland, 
Södermanland and Nerke, collecting a large army firom 
these provinces, and advanced with them to Stock- 
holm. At Rotebro he was met by the brave Nils 
Sture with the Dalmen^ and the united armies marched 


to Jerfra. From hence Stare wrote several letters 
to King Christian oflfering him safe and free passage 
home^ if he would leave Sweden without force ; but 
Christian swore "by God's five wounds, that he had 
not given himself so much trouble and expense to 
return home with an unexecuted commission." As 
all attempts at a peaceful conclusion failed, both armies 
prepared themselves to fight, and the sword was now 
to determine if Sweden was to be a free country 
or not. 

It was the 10th of October 1471, that this remark- 
able battle took place. Long before break of day, the 
Swedes began to furbish their weapons and prepare for 
the bloody gamej and early in the morning the whole 
army was summoned to a solemn service. A priest 
honoured and respected for his piety and devotion 
performed mass before the Holy Cross, and administered 
the Sacrament to the men, who thought in their holy 
enthusiasm tiiat they saw a drop of blood from the 
Saviour's wounds faU into the cup as a celestial caU 
to them boldly to venture their own blood in the sacred 
cause. Sten Sture then let the men go to the provision 
booths, where they took a hurried meal for their re- 
freshment, and meanwhUe despatched Nils Sture with 
a third of the troops round by the wood to attack the 
Danish camp, and Brunkeberg from the east side. 
After this the Administrator marshalled his ranks and 
thirteen hundred riders joined him from Kungsholm 
clad m armour polished like ice, who were sent by 
Knut Posse from the town to his assistance. Then 
Sten Sture spoke to the people and said: "If you 
ever desire to enjoy peace or security in Sweden stand 
this day by me, and depart not from one another. I 
shall do my partj I fear not the King, his Danes and 


satellites, but gladly venture life, and blood, and all 
that I possess in this battle. If ye will do the same, 
lift up your hands !'^ 

"That we will do with God's help V' cried the whole 
army, and lifted up their hands, striking their shields, 
and making a great shout and clashing of arms, after 
which they marched towards Brunkeberg, singing the 
verse of a Psalm composed for the occasion. It was 
now eleven o'clock in the forenoon. 

King Christian had no intention of flying. Strong, 
courageous, and well-exercised in all knightly and 
warlike exercises, he was determined here at once to 
revenge his former defeat, to acquire glory, and win 
back a whole kingdom at one blow. The proud and 
brave Danish nobility, headed by the Marshal Klas 
Rönnow; the traitorous Swedish Lords under the 
dauntless and ambitious Erik Wasa, and Trötte Karls- 
son ; the German and Scottish soldiers, lead by their 
renowned captains, looked fearlessly from their com- 
manding position down on the advancing Swedes 
burning with the desire to engage. Guns and arrows 
opened the attack ; but when the Swedes were pressing 
up the ascent, the Danes met them and the bloody 
strife with lance and sword commenced. The national 
banners met ; the Swedish flag began to ascend the 
hiU, and from the summit waved Danneborg the sacred 
standard of the Danes. The bravest of both parties 
crowded round these, and pressed on each other. 
Neither would yield. The Danes led by a chivalrous 
King fought for glory, power, and riches ; — the Swedish 
peasant followed his beloved leader Sten Sture fighting 
för peace, freedom and fatherland. 

Knut Posse, who commanded the Castle of Stocks 
holm, was a good soldier, and entirely devoted to the 


Administrator. The wife of the latter. Lady Ingeborg 
Tott, was in the Castle at the time, and before the battle 
began called up the poor of the town to her, gave 
them food and liberal alms, that their prayers might 
bring her husband and the Swedes with victory out of 
the combat. Afterwards accompanied by many ladies 
and maidens, she mounted the highest tower of the 
Castle, whence they could see the battle field, and there 
with ardent prayers and beating hearts they awaited 
the issue of the combat. 

But the bold and ardent Knut Posse was by no means 
minded to stand idly within the walls, looking on his 
fighting countrymen. Remarking that the bridge the 
Danes had made between Blasieholm and their fleet 
was without a guard, he ordered some of the citizens 
to row there unobserved in the heat of the battle, and 
with saws and axes to sever the chief supports and 
beams under the bridge, and this stratagem succeeded 
perfectly. He himself made a hasty sally with two 
thousand of the garrison, and possessed himself of 
Christian's fortifications towards the town and set 
them on fire. Sten Sture's people had meanwhile been 
obliged to retire down the hill, so that Christian was 
able to turn all his force against Knut Posse. This 
bold warrior had, with his handful of men, pressed so 
close on the King, that he had received a wound from; 
the King's own hand. However he was obliged to 
give way before superior numbers and retreat over the 
bridge again into the town ; and thus ended the first 

Herr Sten again encouraged his people, saying " it 
would be to their eternal shame if they suffered them- 
selves here to be repulsed.^' He soon got them into 
order, and again led them towards the hill. The 


Danes met them and both armies how engaged^with 
not less courage and energy than before. Herr Sten 
every where gave the example and exhorted to courage : 
he fought on horseback, and a peasant named Björn, the 
Strong, ran before him. Herr Sten could not ride 
quicker than Björn Bonde was able to run, swinging 
his broad battle-sword with such strength round his 
head, that he every where opened a road amongst the 
Danes for his brave leader to advance in. They were 
often seen surrounded by enemies, but God's grace and 
their own bravery assisted them wonderfully through^ 
so that they were not even wounded. King Christian 
also proved himself a vaUant leader of valiant men. In 
the middle of the battle, a ball dew through his mouthy 
knocking out three teeth, so that the blood gushed out, 
and he was carried fainting from the fight. His bold 
captains however did not lose courage, they drove the 
crowding Swedes back with energy, and they who were 
vainly looking for assistance from Herr Nils Sture, 
were forced the second time to leave the height; and 
the ladies on the towers of the Castle who had so 
lately rejoiced in the sight of the Swedish banner 
waving on the summit, now beheld in grief and des- 
pair how it again sunk beneath the edge amidst the 
victorious Danes. The battle had raged three hours^ 
and the victory was not yet decided ; but both armies 
were wearied with fighting. Herr Trötte Karlsson who 
had fought with the foremost, sate himself on a stone 
to repose, and loosed the helmet from his head to 
breathe the fresh air ; but at the same moment a baU 
from the Swedish army struck him between the eyes, 
so that this warrior fell like a traitor fighting amongst 
strangers against his native land. And thus ended the 
second attack. 


• The Administrator now saw that it was impossible in 
this way to dislodge the enemy from their commanding 
post, and therefore caused a diversion to be made by 
directing an attack on the forces posted at the Convent 
of St. Claire. When the Danes on the height saw 
this, they forsook their advantageous position, and 
descended the hill to assist their friends, believing that 
they had entirely beat oflF the Swedes. It must be 
confessed that at this period when there was not much 
military discipUne, it was a great proof of the perseve- 
rance of the latter, and of the skill of Sten Sture, that 
after two repulsed attacks he was again able to marshal 
his troops, and lead them on a third time. However 
it now so happened. No sooner did the Swedes per- 
ceive that their enemies had descended the hill, than 
they shouted, ^^ Now have the Danes come to us on 
equal ground ! Let us swing our swords freely !^^ and 
required no encouragement from Herr Sten. Some 
bright streaks of light were seen across the sky : they 
crying that it was ^* St. Erik's sword which waved 
over his people to protect them and point the way to 
victory,*' threw themselves on the enemy, while Herr 
Knut Posse made a fresh sally from the town. Against 
these efforts all the courage of the enemy was vain. 
They fought in the beginning for victory ; but it was 
soon snatched from them ; they then fought to rescue 
the holy Danneborg banner, and they fought with 
immortal bravery. Five hundred Danish nobles who 
surrounded and defended the standard fell around it 
under the swords of the Swedes, before Sir Knut 
Posse was able to bow its proud point to the ground. 
Then fled the Danes, but only with the intention of 
defending themselves on the height, when at this junc- 
ture Nils Sture with his troops who had been detained 


by bad roads arriyed^ and resistance became vain. 
Their ranks were dispersed, and rushed like a cloud 
down the heights of Brunkeberg towards Blasieholm. 
They hastened away from the pursuing Swedes, seeking 
safety in their ships ; but when the heavy multitude 
poured on the bridge which had been sawed, it burst, 
and the unhappy fugitives plunged into the water. 
Others leapt into boats in the hopes of crossing ; but so 
many crowded into each that they sunk, and the peo- 
ple were lost. Thus nine hundred men were drowned 
in the Näckström, and every avenue of flight being now 
shut up, nine hundred more who had not been able to 
escape, threw down their arms and surrendered. 
Among these was the Danish Marshal, Klas Rönnow, 
as well as the traitors Ture Bjelke and Nils Kriste rson 

This bloody battle had lasted four hours, or till three 
o'clock in the afternoon, but by that time it was fought 
to an end. Christian escaped on board his ships, and 
Sten Sture entered Stockholm with his triumphant 
troops, where there was great rejoicing and gladness.. 
Fru Ingeborg received her victorious Lord with tears 
of joy ; and soldiers and citizens offered to God their 
mingled thanks for this glorious victory. The rejoicing 
however was not unmixed, for many had lost their 
friends and relations in the battle ; the two unsuccess- 
ful attacks on Brunkeberg had cost many a stout 
soldier his life ; and that square on which the Swedes 
now so secure, and proudly contemplate the greatest 
riches and magnificence of their capital, was then 
thickly strewn with the mangled corpses of those who, 
by their courage and with their blood, founded the 
freedom and security of Sweden. Sten Sture had the 
bodies of these fallen sons and defenders of their 


eountry collected for a solemn and magnificent faneral 
amidst the ringing of bells, and the song of the choir 
boys. The dead Danes were also brave men who had 
followed their King ; but the irritated Swedes saw in 
them but enemies, avaricious and ambitious adven- 
turers, whose bodies were cast anywhere into the soil 
out of the reach of the wild beasts and birds of prey. 

Among those who had made their escape with Chris- 
tian in his fleet were a number of his allies, the Upland 
peasants, whom some of the Danes, burning with rage 
and disappointment, now wanted to cut down ; but 
Christian forbade, and had them landed on the Skares, 
after which he continued his homeward course, pursued 
even at sea by storms and misfortunes. When the 
Danes reflected on their numbers, bravery and excellent 
position in this battle, they could not conceive how 
the Swedes had been able to snatch the victory from 
their grasp. The superstitious people averred that 
it had been through the magic arts of Klas Ryting, 
the Swedish Chancellor; but King Christian never 
again ventured with the might of arms to attack 
Sten Sture and the Swedish peasantry. 



Sweden after this battle enjoyed many years of 
peace and repose. The Danes did not dare again to 
exchange blows ; and the invasions of the Russians in 
Finland did not cause any remarkable disturbance on 
the other side of the Baltic. Sten Sture proved him- 
self a great and excellent Governor in peace as well 
as in war, and improved and settled the state of the 


country as mach as he, in so difficult a period, was able 
to effect so desirable an end. By the power and in- 
fluence of the Hanseatic towns, a portion of the corpo 
ration of every trading town was composed of Grermans. 
Herr Sten put an end to this, ordaining that the town 
councils should consist of Swedes alone; however^ he 
always maintained great friendship with the Hanseatic 
League, which was a support to him against the 
machinations of the Danes. The art of printing was 
introduced, and the first book printed in Sweden in 
1483. When Archbishop Jacob UUsson heard that 
the King and the Archbishop of Denmark had got 
permission of the Pope to found an University there, 
he and the Administrator thought that Sweden should 
not be inferior to Denmark, and mutually addressed 
themselves to the Pope to gain the same favour. They 
succeeded, and the University of Upsala was founded. 
What made the Government of the kingdom most 
difficult for Sten Sture, was the great power of the 
nobles. These sate in their fortified castles, and had 
always a crowd of armed dependants for their defence. 
According to the regulations of those times they gave 
the law to their subjects and peasants, so that each was 
an independent Prince ; but this gave rise to continual 
disorders. Ever accustomed to rule, they did not like 
to obey even their Sovereign ; they entered into bloody 
disputes with one another, from which the country 
suffered, and their peasants became greatly impo- 
verished and distressed, and were often forced to sell 
their land ; as their Lords by their great riches were in 
condition to buy new acres and farms, the number of 
firee peasants in this manner gradually decreased, and 
no remedy was to be found so long as the clergy and 
nobility were sole masters of the Diets, and decided all 


that was to be done. It was for this reason that Sten 
Sture called the citizens and peasants to the Diets^ that 
they, by their numbers, might balance the importance of 
the others. This custom was continued by the other 
Stures and the* Kings of the House of Wasa; and by 
this means the cultivators of the soil in Sweden have 
been free and respected, while in most other countries 
they have sunk into contempt and slavery. 

The Administrator appointed no new Senators in 
the places of those who were dead, intending thus to 
weaken the Senate, and decrease the importance of the 
nobles, who were already too powerful without that 
additional dignity. An idea may be formed of the 
might of the nobles of that time when we hear that 
Nils Klasson of Wik, one of that order, declared war 
and armed privateers against the £jng of England, 
because he had taken one of Sir Nil's ships, and did 
not choose to pay for it. Iwar Axelsson Tott had yet 
higher pretensions. His brother Erik Axelsson left at 
his death in 1479, the command he held in Finland to 
Sir Iwar instead of to the Swedish Government as he 
had promised. The third brother. Sir Lars Axelsson 
Tott did the same thing. Iwar possessed great fiefs 
both under the Swedish and Danish crown, so that he 
was one of the most influential men in the north which 
rendered him proud and vain-glorious. He desired to 
place his son. Sir Arwid Trolle as Administrator. Den- 
mark he threatened with war. He alarmed the Swedes 
with threats of giving up his Castles to the Danes, and 
the Danes with threats of making over his strongholds 
in their country to the Swedes. He interrupted the 
commerce in the Baltic by his piracies, and would 
listen to no representations ; but showed pride and con- 
tempt of all. Fortunately he was neither so wise nor 


SO brave as he was rich and haughty. The Swedes 
found themselves at last obliged to attack him by force; 
his fortresses soon fell into their power, and he escaped 
by a cowardly and mean flight to throw himself into 
the arms of John, King of Denmark. The King did 
not let the opportunity pass; but seized on all his 
Danish fiefs, and thus the once mighty and proud Iwar 
Axelsson Tott, died poor and despised. 

Though King Christian, after the battle of Bnm- 
keberg, did not venture on open war, his continual 
effort was to regain the Swedish crown. Meetings 
were held almost every year between the Swedish and 
Danish Lords regarding the renewal of the Union ; but 
Sir Sten's prudence, and the general hatred that was 
borne to Christian prevented their success. Christian 
died in the midst of these negociations in 1481. His 
son and successor King John, in the warmth of his 
youthful courage and ambition, longed to invade Swe- 
den ; but his mother Queen Dorothea, who had been 
married both to Christopher and Christian, was ac- 
quainted with the bravery and disunion of the Swedes, 
and on her earnest advice, John abstained from open 
war, but continued like his father to carry on secret 
machinations in the country. In tiiis he had better 
success ; the priests under the guidance of Jacob 
Ulfsson, now as ever inclined to the Union; the chief 
nobles feared Sten Sture's increasing power, and 
thought they would have more freedom and consi- 
deration under a foreign Sovereign ; they even hated 
him for favouring as they said, the lower orders, 
though they did not dare to break out openly against 
a man who possessed as they affirmed, '^as many 
soldiers as peasants/^ The people generally did not 
feel the same rooted hatred for John as for Christian; 


but instead something of the interest which always 
accompanies youth. Thus Herr Sten was not able to 
prevent John being elected King at a Diet held in 
Calmar in 1483. The oath which he, however, was 
obliged on this occasion to swear, deserves to be cited 
as a proof of the great power the Senators had at that 
time. John promised: ^^To give back Gothland to 
Sweden ; to lay on no tax without the consent of the 
subjects; to separate no district; to decree or annul no 
ordination; to appoint or discharge no Governor of 
castles ; to begin no war ; to grant no privileges without 
the consent of the Senate. Neither the King's rela- 
tions, nor men not noble by birth were to be permitted 
to purchase noble land. The King was to dwell a year 
in each kingdom, and only to bring four foreigners in 
with him. The King was to show the Senate all 
honour and respect, and the Senator who betrayed the 
councils of the Senate to the King, and sought by such 
means to gain his favour was to be declared unworthy 
of his oflSce. Every nobleman, whether ecclesiastical 
or lay, was to be considered King of his own castle 
which he could fortify as he pleased, and refuse ad- 
mittance, even to the King himself. The clergy were 
to be maintained in thek privileges. The King was to 
pay his father's debts, and listen to reproofs and ex- 
hortations without displeasure, &c. &c.^^ 

To these hard and partly degrading conditions, the 
King consented for the vain honour of being called 
King of one kingdom more, when he was unable 
properly to govern the two of which he was already 
possessed; and the Senators were happy in being able to 
snatch the kingdom from the good Government of Sten 
Sture to leave it in foreign rule, that they might them- 
selves get freedom of hand to do what they pleased. 


But Herr Sten was not so easily to be excluded. He 
did not set himself openly against John^ but promised 
to accept him as soon as he had fulfilled the conditions 
of his election as regarded Gothland ; and this John on 
his side refused to do until he had been crowned. 
Time was drawn out in negociations ; meeting after 
meeting was appointed, some of which Sir Sten made 
of no avail by absenting himself on account of his weak 
eyes ; at others nothing of any importance was settled. 
Thus he employed might against might, and craft 
against craft ; and King John, imable to gain his object, 
tried by other means to compel the Swedes. He 
encouraged Iwar Tott in the commotions he had 
caused ; but as we have already seen, they were soon 
overcome. He influenced the Pope to excommunicate 
Herr Sten and the Swedes ; but they disregarded the 
papal thunder ; and Hemming Gad, Sture^s best friend 
went to Rome, and succeeded in getting the excommu- 
nication recalled. Besides these means John, as 
Christian had been, was cruel and inhuman enough to 
incite the Russians to new and dreadful ravages in 
Pinland, by which means alone he succeeded in the 
end in wearing out the Swedes, and overcoming the 
man who supported by the love and well-being of the 
people, feared the Danish arms as little as the plots of 
internal enemies. 



It was not long after the battle of Brunkeberg th. 
the Russians in 1475 made their first plundering e 
cursion in Finland; and they continued these invasion 


afterwards, partly by inclination, partly because they 
were incited by the Danish Kings, so that Finland 
could never find peace. The bold and warlike Erik 
Karlsson Wase had been reconciled to Sten Sture, 
and sent by him to Finland. Three years he defended 
the land against the Russians^ and gave proofs of his 
invincible courage. He was at last killed by some 
servants of a Bishop, and peasants of Sela-Island, be- 
cause he had lodged by force the pa^stor Sigfrid of Sela. 
Erik Axelsson Tott who possessed large fiefs in Finland, 
as long as he lived, with a powerful hand drove the 
Russians back; but it was always difficult to fight 
against them, for they broke in unexpectedly and in 
large hordes; ruined and burnt extensive tracts, tor* 
tured and murdered the inhabitants in the most cruel 
manner, and then hurried off as hastily as they had 
come with the spoil they had gathered. 

At last the brave Knut Posse was appointed Gover- 
nor of Wiborg; and by his courage, prudence, and 
activity, he repelled the Russians wherever he met 
them; but his small army gradually melted away in 
these victories, while the enemies remained in countless 
hordes. In 1495, the invaders spread over east Finland. 
All fled before them to seek shelter in the fortresses, 
and Knut Posse himself was hardly beset in Wiborg, 
The Russians had cannon with which they succeeded 
in breaching the walls ; but Knut Posse had thrown up 
new bulwarks behind, which kept them out In this 
manner he defended himself manfully during two 
months^ and caused the Russians many disasters, 
which, however, told but little on their vast numbers. 
They at last resolved to storm the fortress on the 
30th of November. They poured out in a countless 
multitude, and soon mastered one of the walls and the 

VOL. i« 8 


tower commanding it. They found it abandoned by 
the Swedes, and looking down saw Knut Posse with 
his steel-clad warriors standing in good order in the 
town with the banners of St. Erik and St. Olof way* 
ing above their heads. This pradent commander had 
placed a quantity of gunpowd^ under the tower, and 
then withdrawn with his men; seeing the tower and 
the wall swarming with Russians, who intended to 
rush down into the town, he set fire to the train. 
With a dreadful explosion the tower and the men 
who crowded it blew up ; the wall fell and crushed the 
besiegers who fell dead or insensible to the ground. 
Knut Posse then rushed out of the town to attack the 
terrified enemy, who fled on every side full of horror 
and alarm; the Swedes followed, and cut down many 
thousands almost without resistance. A general panic 
struck the ranks ; they fled headlong over the frontier 
pursued in their course by the enraged peasantry. 

This stratagem of Sir Enut Posse was afterwards 
called " The Wiborg Crack," and has been much cele- 
brated. The ignorant and superstitious Russians ima* 
gined that Posse was in league with the spirit of 
darkness ; the Swedes, who were no wiser, said that he 
knew many secret arts of magic. It was generally be- 
lieved that when he opened a pillow, he got a soldier for 
every feather ; that when he drew a ship with his stick 
on the ground it immediately became a large real ship; 
and that when he wanted to speak with Sten Sture, he 
mounted the towers of Wiborg Castle, and-shaking a 
bridle in the air, an enchanted horse immediately a 
peared who carried him through the clouds to Brunk 
berg and back again in the same manner, all within tl 
four and twenty hours. 

Sten Sture had already begun arming a considerabl 


army against the Russians; St. Erik's banner was 
brought with great pomp from Upsala, and he received 
the holy trophy kneeling before the high altar of the 
High Church in Stockholm. The fleet then set sail ; 
but as it was late in autumn^ it was long detained, and 
injured by continual storms. The ships were dispersed, 
and some frozen in, so that the men suffered much 
both from cold and hunger. When Sture at length 
arrived, he heard that Knut Posse by this stratagem at 
Wiborg had already defeated the enemy ; he therefore 
left Sir Swante Sture, son of Nils Sture, as commander 
of the Swedes, and returned home for reinforcements. 
Sir Swante then marched into Russia ; took Iwangorod,^ 
ravaged the country far and near, and returned with a 
plentiful booty. On Sir Sten's arrival with the fresh 
troops, he demanded Swante's assistance in a second 
invasion ; but the latter refused, saying that his men 
were still suffering from the effects of the former* 
This exceedingly angered Herr Sten, who called Swante 
a traitor; on which Swante in wrath returned to Swe- 
den^ and accused Sten Sture before the Senate, by 
which means the long concealed enmity the principal 
Lords had long borne him at last broke forth. 



Thb Senators, with the Archbishop at their head, 
now renounced all faith and obedience to Lord Sten 
Sture, and called in King John ; however, as Sten was 
not willing to give in at once, a ruinous war broke out 
between both parties, having on one side the Bishops 
and great Lords with their suites and dependants, and on 



the other, the peasants and burghers who sided with 
Lord Sten. He did not, however, so much as before 
possess the confidence of the people, who ascribed the 
ill success of the Finland expedition to his dilatoriness. 
The plagues, fires, and storms which at this time 
successively or together ravaged Stockholm, were con- 
ceived by the ignorant populace to be a sign of Heaven's 
displeasure with their Government, so that when John 
arrived with a numerous fleet, bearing six thousand 
German, troops on board, Sten was shut into Stock- 
holm. He had some thousand well armed men with 
him, and could rely on powerful assistance ; but as the 
Lords were eager for having John to reign over them, 
and Sten foresaw that a long and disastrous war would 
be the consequence, he determined to resign, on John's 
having renewed the promises he had made in Calmar in 
1483, in addition to which Sir Sten obtained assurance 
both from the King and Council that he should not be 
called to account for any of his actions during the 
period of his administration. He retained in his own 
right large fiefs, and remained the most powerful man 
in the country. These preliminaries settled, he opened 
the gates of Stockholm on the ] 1th of November 1497^ 
and went himself to meet and escort King John into 
the town, who received him with all possible honour, 
and asked him jokingly, " If the feast was already 
spread for him in the Castle, and furnished with meat 
and oil wherewithal to enliven the guests.*^ Sir Sten 
then pointing to the Swedish bishops behind the King, 
answered in haste : *^That they know best who st 
behind your Grace, for this is both of their baking { 
brewing ; and they may perhaps do as much for y< 
Grace when they have had time to settle.'' 
They then entered the Castle where nothing i 


wanted to make a costly entertainment, and while the 
King and the ex-administrator spoke together of the 
Government of the kingdom, the former said : *^ You 
have left me my Lord a bad gift in Sweden : for the 
peasants whom Ood made to be slaves, you have made 

The »King afterwards proceeded to Upsala together 
with the nobles, was crowned King, and dubbed many 
Swedes knights. At this time a knight's wife only 
could carry the distinguished title of lady ; and a J^ing 
alone, and not an Administrator could dub knights. As 
for the last seven and twenty years there had been no 
King in the country ; knights and ladies had become 
very scarce ; and it is related that many of the Swedish 
women, incited by this vanity had urged their husbands 
to call in King John. Their wishes were now fulfilled. 
Fifty gentlemen, and amongst them babes in the cradle 
were knighted, for every one hastened to put the oppor- 
tunity to profit. The King had ordered a great and 
very splendid entertainment, and when it was ended 
asked his Lords if they could say that anything had 
been wanting to his glory in the splendours of the 
feast ? All were silent, till one of the King's favourites^ 
a German, stepped forward and said : ^^That one thing 
was wanting, and that was, after the Swedish Lords 
had been feasted at the King's table, his Grace ought 
to have called his guard, and caused the heads of all 
those traitors to be struck off on a silken carpet. The 
King was silent a moment, and cast down his eyes. 
^^ I would rather," be said^ at last, ^' that thou wert 
dead, than that my innocence should be blotted with 
such a crime;" and thus saying he entered his room, 
and would never see that man again. 

King John was in many respects a good and noble- 


minded man, still be was unable to retain the rems of 
Oovemment. Tbe chief cause to which this is to be 
ascribed was certainly the ambition, envy, and restless- 
ness of the Swedish nobles, by which both natiye and 
foreign Princes had in turn been dethroned; but John 
also contributed to his own misfortunes. Like the 
other Kings of the Union, he boldly broke his word, 
and preferred the Danes before the Swedes. Grothland 
was not restored; the Castles were given to foreign 
comfianders, who by their cruelty and aYarice irritated 
the people as they had done in the time of Erik of 
Pomerania. Heavy taxes further oppressed them, and 
the nobles did not receive as large fiefs as they could 
have wished; on the contrary, John deprived Sten Store 
and several others of those which he had in the be- 
ginning so liberally bestowed. This was the cause of 
general displeasure, and a trifle soon brought it to an 
explosion. The King took possession for himself of a 
salmon fishery in the Dal River which Nils Ejristers- 
son Oxenstjema had had before; and this so irritated 
the latter, that he killed the King's steward. John had 
at this time suffered a great defeat firom the Ditmarsch- 
ers ; the Swedish Lords took courage, and went in a 
repentant mood to Sten Sture to seek reconciliation 
with him, and implore his assistance in expelling John, 
who soon arrived with a large fleet in Stockholm. 
John was in the Castle ; the Swedish Lords in the town, 
and none dared to go abroad without hostages. Queen 
Christina had once with tears implored her husband's 
permission to attend mass in the High Church 
Stockholm, and on leaving it for the Castle, Lord S 
and Lord Swante Sture stepped up to her on each si( 
to escort her home in all knightly courtesy; but wh 
the people on the Castle walls saw this, they feared 


was an attack^ and pointed their cannon on the gentle-r 
men, who were obliged to quit their charge. Irritated 
by this^ and to revenge the insult, the Lords now de- 
clared openly against the King, and commenced to raise 
the country against him. Sten soon arrived with the 
Dalmen before the gates of Stockholm, and was ad- 
mitted by the burghers into the town. John left his 
Queen with a garrison of two thousand men in the 
Castle, and sailed himself to Denmark for reinforce- 
ments ; but meanwhile the whole country revolted, the 
Danes were driven out, and finally, in the end of 1501, 
Sten Sture was again appointed Administrator. 



Stockholm Castle was now straitly besieged by 
Hemming Gadd ; but Queen Christina defended her- 
self valiantly. Though provisions began to fail, and 
the garrison to die in consequence of unnatural food, 
the Queen defended herself for eight months, till but 
eighty men remained of the two thousand, and every 
cellar and vault was full of dead bodies, when she at 
last gave up the Castle to Sture on the 27th of March 
1502. She had treated with him for a free return ; but 
Sture detained her a whole year in Wadstena under a 
huncbred different pretexts. 

King John hoped to regain the country by force of 
arms, but was defeated. Prince Christian, who was his 
father's representative in Norway was more fortunate. 
He fell on West Gothland, and besieged Elfsborg, 
whose Governor, Erik Gyllenstjerna, fled either through 
cowardice or treachery, and was therefore murdered by 


the enraged West Gothland peasantry. The remains of 
the garrison begged to capitulate with Christian, but he 
insisted on their surrendering unconditionally. They 
then in their despair determined to defend themselves 
to the last, and asked support of Sten Sture, who im- 
mediately despatched Sir Åke. Johansson Natt Och 
Dag with a body of men. Sir Åke rode on with all 
speed with his cavalry, but when he early one misty 
morning reached Elfsborg, the Castle was already 
taken, and the whole garrison cut to pieces by the mer- 
ciless Christian. The Danes now lay asleep in their 
tents, and Sir Åke could conveniently have fallen upon 
them ; however he ordered his trumpeters to sound the 
attack ; they hesitated, thinking the Danes should be 
taken by surprise, " Blow 1 '^ cried Herr Åke, ** other- 
wise I shall make my arrow fly through thy body. 
Think ye it is fit to surprise a King's son and so many 
noble gentlemen, instead of venturing a fair combat 
with them ?" The trumpets sounded, and Herr Åke 
rushed on with his knights, and in the commencement 
made great havoc amongst the half awoken Danes ; but 
Sir Otto Rud their leader defended himself valiantly, 
and a Danish standard being set up, the troops raUied 
around it. Sir Åke not having taken time to await his 
infantry, was at last driven with great loss out of the 
camp, after which Prince Christian, with fire and sword 
and dreadful havoc, marched through West and East 
Gothland, and then returned to Skåne. And this was 
Christian the Tyrant's first exploit in Sweden. 

Sir Otto Rud, of whom we have just spoken, alwa 
stood in great favour with King John, and was a bra 
and merry man. They once were sitting together rea 
ing legends of King Arthur and his knights. " He 
does it happen, Sir Otto,*' said the King, *^ that 


knights like Gavian and Percival are now to be found ?** 
*^ Ay/' answered Sir Otto, "because no Court is now to 
be found like that of King Arthur," John laughed, 
and granted that Sir Otto was right. 

This same Sir Otto had possession of Bohus Castle 
in 1502 5 not far from which lay Sir Nils Rautsen with 
a Swedish garrison in Olofsborg Castle. On Christmas 
Eve, much snow having fallen, and the ground being 
quite white. Sir Otto resorted to the following stra- 
tagem. He caused his soldiers to draw white shirts 
over their armour, advanced with them straight to 
Olofsborg just at the time he imagined that the Swedes 
were sitting feasting round the Christmas board. The 
sentries were not able distinctly to distinguish the 
white shirts from the snow, and so the Danes entered 
the Castle unperceived. Sir Otto Rud had the gates 
immediately shut and guarded, and surrounded the 
hall in which the garrison, seated amidst their flagon s 
and barrels, were either taken prisoners or cut down. 
Nils Rautsen alone broke through them, and rushed up 
a little tower ; here with his sword, lance, and hurling 
of stones, he defended himself through the whole of 
Christmas night, and was not to be prevailed on to sur- 
render till late on the following day. 

Otto Rud received large possessions from King John 
as the reward of his bravery and good fortune ; and 
distinguished himself under his son Christian as a 
brave leader against the Swedes. Some time after 
having undertaken a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he died 
in Germany, and thus there is nothing more to relate 
of Sir Otto Rud in this place. 

Meanwhile Lord Sten Sture at the intermediation of 
the Hanseatic Towns, thought proper to permit Queen 
Christina's return to Denmark. He had treated her 


with the greatest distinction and courtesy during the 
whole of her imprisonment, and now he went to Wad- 
stena, whence he escorted her to the Danish frontier. 
On his return, he fell suddenly and violently ill, and it 
was with the greatest difficulty that his friends were 
able to conduct him to Jönköping where he died the 
13th of December, 1503. Many have said that his 
sidkness was the consequence of poison, which the 
Queen^s physician is supposed to have given him at the 
frontier; others again believe that Sir Swante Sture's 
second wife. Lady Martha, had secretiy poisoned him, 
that her husband might the sooner succeed him in the 

Great disorders might have been the consequence, 
and King John have found it an easy undertaking to 
regain Sweden ; but Hemming Gadd, the irreconcilable 
enemy of the Danes and the faithful friend of the 
Stures, prevented anything of the kind. He made the 
few witnesses of the Administrator's death swear to 
secresy, and then concealed the event in the following 
manner. The corpse was laid in a sledge, and conveyed 
secretiy up to Stockholm ; but one of Sten Sture's 
servants by name Per Byresson, who was very like him 
in person, put on his dotiies and rode his horse^ but 
pretended to have a severe attack in his eyes from 
which Lord Sten often suffered. He tiierefore bound 
up his face, and when he stopped at any place went 
immediately to bed; the windows being all shut, on 
account of the sick Administrator's weak eyes, and 
every one who had affairs to settie was obliged dur' 
the time to apply to Hemming Gadd. In this way 
journey to Stockholm proceeded, where Hemm 
Gadd had appointed Swante Sture and his friends 
be in readiness. Matters being thus arranged, S 


Sture^s death was announced, and Swante Sture at the 
same time chosen Administrator, and the Castles made 
over to him. 

Lord Sten left but one daughter, who was a nun in 
Wadstena Convent. His body and that of his wife 
were first interred with much pomp in Gripsholm Con- 
vent, but afterwards removed to Kemebo Church in 
the neighbourhood. King John III thought this 
burial place not of sufiBicient distinction, and begged 
Duke Charles to remove them a third time to the Ca- 
thedral of Strängnäs, which was accordingly done, and 
new and costly coffins made for the occasion. This 
was in 1576. Nearly a hundred years after, 1675, 
Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie caused a chapel roofed 
with copper to be raised over them, and a stone with 
an honourable inscription to be laid over the grave. 
About one hundred years later, Gustavus III erected 
a monument over the grave-stone. Thus has each suc- 
cessive century brought its tribute of admiration and 
gratitude for the noble services done to his native land 
by Sten Sture. 



A.D. 1061. — Stenkil favoured Christianity. Warred with Norway. 
Died A.D. 1066. 

Håkan the Red, favoured Christianity. PeacefuL Died 

Inge the Elder, and Halstan. Inge attempted to out-root 
Paganism by force. Deposed. 
A.D. 1100. — Blot Sven, King of the heathens. Murdered by Inge. 
Inge again King. War with Norway. Died 1112. 

Philip, and Inge the Younger. Philip died 1118. Inge 
reigned peacefully. Died 1 1 29' 

Ragwald Knaphöfde and Magnus Nilsson strove for the 
crown. The Battle of Fotewig 1 134. 


A.D. 1100.— Swerker the Elder. Before King of East Gothland. 
Peaceful. Danes invade Wärend. Killed 1155. 

Erik the Holy, or St. Erik, a mild and disinterested law- 
giver. Converted the Finns. Killed 1160. 

Charles VII. Swea and Gotha King. Banished Erik's 
murderers. First Archbishops in Sweden. Killed 116S. 

Knut. Disturbed reign. Sigtuna destroyed by the E 
nians. Swerker Karlsson taken as Co-Regent. Knut 
in 1199. 
A.D. 1200.— Swerker the Younger. Murdered Erik's childr* 
Elgarås 1205. Exempted the clergy from taxes. Fe 


A.D. 1200.— Erik, the first King in Sweden who was crowned. 
Died 1216.^ 

John the Pious. Extended the privileges of the Clergy. 
Unfortunate expedition against Esthonia. Died 1222. 

Erik the Lame, and Lisper. Rebellion of the Folkungar. 
Expelled 1229. Knut the Tall becomes King. Knut fell in 
1234. Erik again King. Birger Jarl takes Ostrabothnia. 
Erik died 1250. 


A.D. 1200. — ^Waldemar. His father Birger Jarl ruled the king- 
dom. Made good laws. Founded Stockholm. Died 1266. 
Waldemar deposed 1275. 

Magnus Ladulås deposed his brother Waldemar. Im- 
proved the laws. Quelled the Folkungar. Introduced the 
service of knights. Forbid lodging by force. Died 1290. 
A.D. 1300. — Birger. Torkel Knutsson guardian till 1303. Ruled 
well. Beheaded in 1306. The kingdom divided. The King's 
brothers murdered at Nyköping in 1317. Birger deposed 

Magnus Smek. Matts Kettilmundsson guardian. Skåne, 
Halland, and Bleking redeemed. Magnus disputes with the 
nobles. His son Erik Co-Regent from 1342 to 1359. Mag- 
nus gives away Skåne, Halland, and Bleking, 1360. 

Håkan Co-Regent 1362. Both deposed 1364. 


A.D. 1300. — Albrecht. Favoured the Germans. Disputed with 
the Lords. Bo Jonsson Grip more powerful than the King. 
Battle of Falköping 1389. Deposed. 

Margaret, Queen before of Norway and Denmark. Founded 
the Calmar Union 1397. Topk Erik of Pomerania as Co- 
Regent. Favoured the Danes. Had unjust Stewards. Died 

A.D 1400.— Erik XIII. Unhappy war with Holstein. Oppressed 
the Swedes with cruel tax gatherers. Revolt of the Dalecar- 


liana under Engelbrocht 1433. Engelbrecht murdered 1436. 
Erik deposed 1439. 1^1 Knutsaon Administrator till 1441. 

Christopher licentious and wasteful. .New law adopted 
1443. Famine. Died 1448. 

Charles VIII. Unhappy expedition to Gothland. War 
with Denmark. Rebellion of the Archbishop. Deposed 

Christian I. King of Denmark and Norway. A miser. 
Imprisoned the Archbishop. Deposed 1464. 


LO NDONt . ^, 

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